23 October 2023
Senator Ratna Omidvar, Chair
Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology
The Senate of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario Canada, K1A 0A4
Via email: Ratna.Omidvar@sen.parl.gc.ca
Dear Senator Omidvar:
Re: Support for Bill S-244; An Act to amend the Department of Employment and Social Development Act and the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Council)
On behalf of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, I am writing today to express our support for Bill S-244 – An Act to amend the Department of Employment and Social Development Act and the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Council).
Creating an EI council, which brings together employer and employee representatives to provide advice and make recommendations to the Commission, would encourage, and facilitate continued engagement and dialogue between all interested parties. As the Preamble of the Bill stipulates: “… factors including post-pandemic adjustment, an aging population, technological changes, new forms of work and the climate transition will generate major transformations in the labour market and require considerable adaptation on the part of employers and workers”. It is time for the EI program to adjust to the new challenges.
Our organization has engaged throughout the federal government’s EI reform consultations and it is clear that the existing and emerging complexities related to employment and the future nature of work require a thoughtful and collaborative approach to providing the protections that employees need while balancing the sustainability of the system for both employees and employers. EI is a large insurance program that is critically important to the Canadian workforce. Labour supply is also one of the key issues for business and it is appropriate for the Senate to have a dedicated mechanism to carefully consider the nusances of proposed changes to the system, which may have unintended consequences.
Michael Melvin, 2023-24 President, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce