If You’re Unemployed, Your Standards Might Be Too High

Calling the Employment Insurance system too ‘lucrative’ for some who are ‘work-shy,’ Canada’s Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development announced changes to the program last week.

Unemployed Canadians (who number approximately 7.3% of the total population and 13% of people aged 15-29) will have to look for a job every day, show proof of this search, and the government will define what is suitable employment based on training and job history. If you refuse what bureaucrats — or the minister herself — calls a suitable job, you will lose some benefits, and more over time if you stay on EI. And if you’ve been on EI before, then you really have to be willing to jump in to whatever comes your way.

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services (who is also Minister for Status of Women) offered a wonderful analogy:

New EI changes are like ‘E-Harmony’ for job seekers and employers: matching Cdns looking for work with available jobs, data, support.

(But only if the next partner you’re looking for is 90 percent as good as your previous partner, or less if you’ve used the dating service before, and if you lower your expectations the longer you spend on the market).

What Diane Finley actually said is that they’re making these changes “to make sure that the worker is always better off taking work thatís available than not.”

In other words, they want to make it as difficult as possible to live off EI and Canadians who have paid into the program to protect them when they are looking for another job will have to take whatever they can find no matter the future prospects or the affect it will have on their lives and happiness. Because what potential employers are really looking for is desperation.

The government is also replacing thousands of part-time workers who hear appeals from those who have had their EI refused to a tribunal of 74. The Minister says this will be more efficient. The tribunal will also be hearing appeals concerning Old Age Security benefits and the Canada Pension Plan.

One person who is involved in the current review system pointed out to CBC that 74 people will have a hard time handling the 26,000 appeals the review board saw in 2011. (That would be almost one appeal per day per person, not counting appeals concerning OAS and CPP).

The Harper government says that these changes were necessary because the old system was inefficient, but it’s hard to see how this could possibly work faster. What you can’t argue with, however, is that these changes speak to the Tory base, who tend to see EI as a crutch used by those who don’t want to work.

Related Stories:

Youth Unemployment: A Crisis That’s Already Happened

South Carolina Wants To Force Unemployed to Volunteer For Benefits

Unemployed? You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself!

Photo Credit: Bede Jackson


Huber F.
Huber F4 years ago

Most of the jobs are either riddled with more energetic brokers also willing to outshine their dirty tricks to customers or the underhands don't stop with new customers that have too high demands for simple things on the menu. Its a crazy world.

Wayne Hawley
Wayne Hawley5 years ago

I for one am angry.. the numbers that our government is giving in unemployment is lower that whats being told, they base their findings on people that claim UI, but not those that are denied the insurance nor the people that can't claim at all.
Furthermore..living wages need increased, every thing else has increased.., the middle/low income working class are barely making it, most are losing their homes and forced to rent, if they can afford to even rent !
Even today people with collage behind them can't find jobs, if they do, its jobs that any Joe off the streets can do, thats not right and that should not happen.
Lastly..why can't these people get any health care, while unemployed, its not given and they did work for their right to get it IMO.

Pamela Tracy
Pamela Tracy5 years ago

Frankly, there are plenty of jobs that I would not work at in this country....either..not because I am some big so called someone to myself...but because there are places to work that are not good for the employment economy.......

Would you work at a hotel whose biggest stock holder was a drug dealer and a pedophile...who bothered employees and had to be banned from the very place where he owned the most stock 75%...lets get real.....

Would you work at a place who condoned things that are not legal...???? Would you work for someone who lies about its honest employees and then lies about its dishonest employees...because they are into ruining peoples lives for their churchy employer and his churchy a......hole churchy attitudes....no...

So after you eliminate all of the above...are there many jobs...nope....

Pamela Tracy
Pamela Tracy5 years ago

in many cases if you are unemployed and highly educated ....you dont want to stoop too low for a job..if you dont have to...in the system today in the US we have a favorites bunch...these people will always have jobs...skilled or not...honest or not.....believe me I know....

Secondly....if you are rich and don't need a job you flaunt your riches in our faces from TV and news media and news mediums every day....so you rich people dont need a job, especially if you let it go to your head like those I watch on reality shows...

Thirdly, the religious people want to put their people in jobs before those of us who wont go to church to kya....I went to church because my grandmother taught me about God and my old church group taught me about God...and a non fearing God...however today you have to go to church and if you repent on Sundays the church will make sure you keep your job....even if you do not repent Monday through Saturday for the weeks so called sins.....

Christina J.
Christina J5 years ago

Vera you sem to be very bitter about your experience having to work at McDonalds, whiney too.You're honestly saying that only the wages that you made working there supported your family? Very hard to believe. My best friend works happily every shift she can get at McDs while raising her daughters, but there is no way she could do it without some help. Also, you would enjoy watching children getting put out on the street, in a soup line because THEY were "willing to go along" with the choice their parent(s) made? That is a cruel way to think.

Michael C.
Michael C5 years ago

Dave E, You offer a refreshing view to a complex discussion, though I believe there are many that would find an argument with your thoughts. Thanks for sharing. Michael

John P, My thanks to you for keeping the folks awake and on target.

Arnie , Life sucks...just be thankful that Geo Bush could not "serve" 3 terms, you would have to moved to Iceland or Mongolia, just to get a "job" at Mc Barfs.

To think that some of you are still out of work and Baby Bush just released a new book on how to save the economy. Damn, I want his Profs to read that crap, that is if they read in crayon.

Georgia L.
Georgia L5 years ago

And meanwhile the CEOs are paid more and more millions per year while wanting the average worker to take less and less.

Sharon R.
Sharon R5 years ago

Having been on unemployment, I see these changes as unrealistic and burdensome. To look for work every day is depressing because jobs don't open up that fast usually. One is looking at the same websites and the same job listings that one has seen before. One begins to feel hopeless and a failure. Unemployment benefits can become a crutch, but they sure help when one is out of work. In Massachusetts, they are also connected to one's health insurance plan so letting go of unemployment also means letting go of health insurance for awhile (some months), another scarey factor.

MEGAN N5 years ago

@ paula
Thank you. What people are forgeting is that the longer you are out of work the harder it is to go back. Any job is better than no job when a hiring manager is reviewing your resume. The reason for this is usually because it is assumed (rightly or wrongly) by HR people that the transition between jobs is easier than the transition from being unemployed long term to returning to the work force. I have had to omit my high qualifications when looking for a low skilled position in the past because employers would hesitate to hire me otherwise for the same reasons some others have mentoned on here. Simply put they don't want to get someone who might leave. So downplaying skills and taking a lesser position for a little while so you can look for a job in the field you are trained in. Also it allows you to be a bit more selective and wait for the right professional position with a comany you like while avoiding an undesirable employment gap.

Ronald E.
Ronald E5 years ago

Vera T, you did good. I might not agree with much you have to say, but you did good. Congratulations and keep on truckin'!