N.L. Employers’ Council to ask Atlantic premiers to end resistance to EI reforms

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The Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council (NLEC) plans to ask the Atlantic premiers to reconsider their opposition to Employment Insurance (EI) reforms implemented by the federal government last year.

The NLEC will meet today in St. John's with the Council of Atlantic Premiers (CAP) advisory panel.

The employers' council says in 2008-10, almost 60 per cent of the province's workforce received EI benefits at least once a year, while at the same time the provincial government promoted a booming economy and 77,000 pending job vacancies, with employers struggling to fill positions.

“These reforms, designed to make EI a more efficient program, to remove disincentives to work and quickly connect people to jobs are positive for Newfoundland and Labrador people and our economy,” the council said in a news release today.

The recent changes to the EI system that took effect in January 2013 were welcomed by the employers' council.

It says EI remains one of the biggest issues for its member employers and is a barrier to addressing labour market challenges, with many employers reporting they feel they are competing with the EI system for labour.

After a year of implementation, the council argues these changes have not had the “devastating impact” on seasonal workers that the Atlantic premiers predicted. In the first half of 2013 (Jan-July), only 380 EI claims across the country were disqualified because of the “Connecting Canadians with Available Jobs” (CCAJ) changes, less than one per cent of all disqualified claims in the country. “Seasonal businesses operating in rural areas where no other work exists have not, and will not, be impacted by these reforms,” the council also contends.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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