Employment Insurance changes the federal government revealed this week should be setting off alarm bells in the Parry Sound area.
The changes are designed to decrease the number of Canadians receiving the federal compensation while unemployed. The proposed legislative change stipulates that “Canadians receiving EI benefits will be required to look for a job every day they receive benefits,” according to a federal press release.
Those receiving the benefits will have to prove they are searching for work, or be denied their insurance reimbursements.
What it looks like is another made-in-the-city plan that ignores the cyclical tourism-based economy of our region.
Sure, there should be some motivation to ensure the system is not easy to take advantage of.
But here, where the populations swells to three or four times its permanent size with the arrival of cottagers and tourists, a third or more of all jobs can disappear along with the warm weather.
Quite simply, there are not enough jobs here during the off-season. Our economy depends on a cycle of summer boom, and winter crawl. Add the impact of poor weather, a dropping American dollar, worldwide unrest, tougher passport restrictions at the U.S. border, soaring gas prices … our economy is already a volatile one.
Many of the people who live here depend on Employment Insurance.
We’ll await more details, but suggest the time to express concern about the changes should be right now. Otherwise, a cookie-cutter national change to Employment Insurance benefits could devastate an already fragile, cyclical local economy.