CKCA is a member of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition (CMC) and attended a recent meeting that invited the EI Employers Commissioner, Nancy Healy to provide an overview of the EI reform currently underway. Proposed changes pose concerns for employers still recovering from the impact of Covid-19.
As a group, the CMC discussed that reform of EI should lessen the burden on employers and not add to it. While there is no question that the EI system is in need of updating (it has been 25 years since the last revisions were done), the challenges business face in Canada are substantial as we experience unprecedented labour shortages. Most recent statistics revealed there are approximately 1 million jobs in Canada now available and we are at record lows for unemployment rates.
Therefore CKCA, along with a number of other manufacturing industries have written to Government asking for meaningful reform of the EI system that strikes the right balance for the employer and the employee. Consideration must be given for the challenges business currently face. The current plans include passing along some of the EI costs to employers in the form of increased premiums, meanwhile increasing the EI benefits to employees.
EI must be responsive and available to the unemployed workers while they seek other employment, but benefits should not act as a disincentive to work. The EI system should remain as a temporary job-loss protection program.
Without sufficient workers, industry will be forced to reduce capacity, which our industry is already experiencing, or even worse, face closing. Closed business will diminish the Government’s ability to collect much needed funds to support EI benefits. Increasing business costs continue to threaten business in Canada and our ability to compete globally. The kitchen cabinet sector faces these challenges with the low cost of foreign kitchen cabinet imports. Therefore it is critical that Government policy and reform of existing systems help to support and strengthen Canadian industry.
We’ll keep you posted on how this progresses in the weeks ahead.