EI’s not going to be taken away – Shea

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Federal Revenue Minister Gail Shea spoke to members of the Kensington and Area Chamber of Commerce Monday. She divulged few details about the upcoming federal budget but did say that federal transfers to the Province are at an all-time high.

TIGNISH -- In a yearend interview, Egmont MP and Minister of National Revenue Gail Shea sought to reassure constituents that Employment Insurance will still be available to those who can’t find a job.

“Is there more enforcement? Yes, there is, but I think it wouldn’t be argued there was not much enforcement in the past,” Shea said of changes made to the Employment Insurance Act. She said the system was sometimes frustrating for employers, because they felt like they were competing with the EI system when seeking employees.

She pointed to what’s driving the changes to the EI system: “We have an aging population, a shrinking workforce and there’s a real concern of who’s going to do the jobs in the future when we just don’t have the people.”

There are more expectations on workers to seek out work while on EI. “There are some changes, yes. I think people need to know that EI will be there. It’s not going to be taken away from them, but, will they be expected to take work that’s available in their area, if the pay scale is within the range? Of course they will be, if they’re qualified for that work,” Shea stressed.

“I know some people are concerned and I’ve passed on all of the concerns,” she added.

But Prince Edward Island’s lone MP on the government side of the House said there are many opportunities available to workers, as well pointing out both the federal and provincial government have invested heavily in skills training. That includes new Holland College campuses in Alberton and Summerside. “Anybody would tell you more and more people are taking up those opportunities to get trained. The facilities are there and the assistance is there,” she said.

The regional minister for Prince Edward Island was also asked about the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s decision to terminate core funding to Regional Development Organizations, including Resources  West and the Central Prince Development Corporation at the end of the current fiscal year in March. She pointed out ACOA has employees spread throughout Atlantic Canada who deliver many of the same services. “We can’t be spending taxpayers’ money duplicating things,” she stressed.

She pointed out the Minister responsible for ACOA, Bernard Valcourt, has indicated he will be having discussions with the provinces going forward on the best way to ensure services continue to be delivered. She said she will be passing on to Valcourt discussions happening within the RDOs about project management and will seek answers on whether the federal government can partner with the province in delivering services out the Rural Action Centres.


Organizations: Employment Insurance, Holland College, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Central Prince Development

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Alberton, Summerside Atlantic Canada Valcourt

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Recent comments

  • Joe Blow
    December 30, 2012 - 23:32

    Where is the $51 thousand million that was surplus from the EI system? That's right, in 2007 the EI program had a $51 BILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS ! It was stolen from the employers and employees and put into general revenue. Then the government: Raised the amount both had to pay in. Extended the number of weeks work required to open claim Reduced the rate of payment per dollars earned Reduced the amount of weeks payable. I WANT MY MONEY BACK !!!!

  • Karen
    December 29, 2012 - 10:10

    So you folks on P(EI) tell me. Do you earn $10.00 per hour on EI!

  • John W.A. Curtis
    December 28, 2012 - 14:21

    Onus is now on employers to provide more than fourteen weeks work and now onus is on E.I. recepients to work more than 14 weeks. First step towards P.E,I, becoming a have province.

    December 28, 2012 - 13:50

    Gail states in the article that there is concern that we have an aging population and there will not be enough to do the work. At present we have the people and no work. How, in her mind did she turn this around to blame the people who have worked all their lives for getting old and causing this problem? Try to stop playing the blame game and get some permanent jobs on the Island rather then these companies that are paid tens of millions of dollars to come here then leave. This kind of thinking is called common sense, you politicians should look it up in the dictiobnary.

  • not ecactly true
    December 26, 2012 - 23:36

    I'm in my fifties and my health isn't that great . I work six months of the year ,and I have my benefits through work I definitely need so if I leave this job and take a ten dollar job who's gonna buy my mess. If I have to buy them myself I will have to sleep on the streets and starve. So instead of working six months I might as well go on welfare cause I get all my drugs free they will pay my rent and feed me.DOES THIS MAKE SENSE. No leave our EI alone for god sakes we've paid into it for too many years

  • Wyman MacKinnon
    December 26, 2012 - 12:35

    Wow ,when did Minister Shea take up professional skating Never answered one Q or give one A. Only there is going to be some changes now that really helps to allay a lot of peoples Angst. Not a way to build a trust level with the residents of P.E.I. Wyman MacKinnon Sudbury Ont

    December 26, 2012 - 11:20

    People in this province have set up their own way of life and it does not match with the rest of Canada. EI was orginated to assist peole who lost thier employment. An example of how not to use EI is for a fisherman to put his wfe and children down as crew then everyone sits back all winter and reaps money. Don't deny this as everyone on the Island knows it is done as some brag about it. Another example is farmers going South for the winter then coming back and complaining about how tough it is to be a farmer. For those fishermen and farmers who actually can't make enough then realize that you need to try something else. Don't expect everyone else to support you because you don't want to do anything else.

  • plain and simply
    December 26, 2012 - 09:38

    If there is work available people should work, some islanders have become very independent on the type of work they will do, how many time have we heard people say "I wouldn't to that job" while they collect an EI check. EI is for people who lose their job and can't find another one right away. Many have become completely dependent on EI and have no intentions of changing a thing. Since EI came in more than 50 years ago our island economy has become more not less seasonal. We are less dependent on fishing and farming then we were when there were 6000 farms in PEI in the 50's and 10,000 fishermen but that hasn't meant we are more independent of EI, in 1960 including CFB Summerside, all teachers and health care workers there were less than 5000 people working for all levels of government, today there are 3 times that number. We have lost our private sector economy and become a province of government work and investment, seasonal and short term jobs. Outside of this we have the service industry and EI, not very attractive to many young people so they leave and we complain.

    • Ron
      December 28, 2012 - 08:00

      If the government would stop catering to the rich fishermen who drive around in there sixty and seventy thousand cars and trucks ten thousand dollar snow machines and seventy thousand tractors or should I say snow blowers things would be a lot better I worked all my life and I. could not draw EI like the fishermen do