MP Alex Atamanenko (BC Southern Interior) said he is pleased with federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley’s statement Thursday that the government will finally agree to the amendments to Bill C-50 that the NDP has been calling for; namely, to ensure long-tenured workers who applied for EI benefits as of January 4th, 2009 or later will qualify for extended benefits of up to 20 weeks.
“Now it is important that Bill C-50 pass quickly--so that struggling families can get the help they need now,” added Atamanenko.
Finley was reacting to NDP-led concerns that the legislation, as written, linked the start date to a mid-October deadline for passage of the bill by Parliament. This would have meant that the later the legislation passed, the fewer people would have qualified for the extension.
Atamanenko said the projections show that 190,000 long-tenured workers will benefit from this temporary provision. Thousands of laid-off workers per week would have missed out on qualifying for the extended benefits had the Conservatives not agreed to this change put forward by the NDP.
“The federal NDP has been fighting tirelessly for needed EI reforms,” said Atamanenko. " I am heartened to see that Minister Finley has finally seen the wisdom of this legislative amendment offering important, though limited, improvement. This means that thousands of families across the country who are hurting during this economic recession can have a bit of good news around Thanksgiving.”