COLUMN: Extending Employment Insurance sickness benefits

One of the challenges, with so many different events occurring in Ottawa, is that some become overlooked.

This occurred last week as the third party opposition Bloc Québécois had their first Opposition Day in the House and tabled the following motion:

Mr. Blanchet (Beloeil—Chambly): “That the House call on the government to increase the special Employment Insurance sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50 weeks in the upcoming budget in order to support people with serious illnesses, such as cancer.”

After debate on this motion was complete a vote was held with the Bloc, Conservative and NDP voting in favour of the motion passing with the governing Liberals opposed.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Democracies don’t always have to agree

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Are all Canadian energy projects equal?

In the last parliament, this opposition motion would have been defeated however in this minority parliament, the motion passed.

Prior to this motion passing, the maximum time for the special employment benefit on EI was limited to 15 weeks, a limit that has been in place since 1971.

Unfortunately, how many Canadians might benefit from this change is unknown as the motion was not studied by committee prior to being submitted by the Bloc, as would have been the case with a bill.

This is one of the challenges in a minority parliament where a motion can be established politically and passed very quickly, potentially without sufficient scrutiny.

In this case, EI is a program funded by contributions from both workers and their employers.

This represents an extension of an existing EI benefit that could be of significant financial assistance to a person facing one of life’s greatest heath challenges.

In certain cases, it may very well be the only time some workers might access the EI benefits they have long paid into.

As a result, I supported this motion although I did state some reservations for the lack of proper parliamentary scrutiny.

My question this week:

Do you agree with the motion to extend “the special Employment Insurance sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50 weeks in the upcoming budget in order to support people with serious illnesses, such as cancer.”

I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Columnist

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm lawyer describes inmate’s positive COVID-19 test as ‘a huge problem’

Virus in the confined space of Okanagan Correctional Centre may be difficult to contain

Summerland business leaders plan for economic recovery

Change in tone noted as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Penticton bylaw officers receive 12 reports of COVID-19 order violations in five days

Bylaw says they received reports of four different types of infractions in a five day span

Penticton RCMP seek suspect in ‘bold’ Martin Street robbery

Officers following numerous leads and hope to have suspect in custody soon

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

COVID19 pushes Salmon Arm boxing coach into students’ living rooms

Needs of students with Parkinson’s prompts Bulldogs’ Peggy Maerz into Zoom Room

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Domestic violence on the rise in Okanagan amid COVID-19

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP see increase in domestic dispute call volumes

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

Most Read