(OTTAWA) Member of Parliament for Malpeque, Wayne Easter, raised concerns yesterday in Question Period, over the government’s reforms to Employment Insurance (E.I.).
New reforms would compel farmers to hire locals over using the long established foreign workers program which has created uncertainty in the farm community.
Easter stated, “Farmers need certainty when it comes to harvesting crops and the foreign worker program has been an essential part of that certainty. The government reforms will undermine this proposal and make it almost impossible for farm businesses to meet the necessary timeframes to meet the eligibility requirements for the foreign worker program.”
Easter asked the following question during question period on May 30th:
Not only are the government’s employment insurance changes an attack on the seasonal industries in the workforce that depend on those jobs, new rules around foreign workers, especially in the farm sector, would make the government the big boss. Government officials would in effect determine whom employers may or may not hire. Farmers claim this would impact their productivity and jeopardize their harvest and their businesses. Why would the minister take Mike Harris’s failed and discredited workfare program and impose it on the entire country?
The response from the Minister of Human Resources confirmed that this was the government’s intention and that they appear to have no interest in working with farm organizations to ensure their needs are adequately addressed.
“This government,” Easter concluded, “has neither the interests of the unemployed nor the farm sector under consideration with this attack on E.I and the Foreign Workers Program and both will suffer the consequences.”