EI changes will help small business fill job vacancies

Today’s announcement by the federal government regarding improvements to the Employment Insurance (EI) system is a step in the right direction. Changes to the definition of suitable employment, based on how frequently EI is claimed, will help to remove disincentives to work and hopefully make it easier for small firms to find the people they need. 

In our 2009 report, Insuring Prosperity: SMEs Perspectives on the EI System, a shocking 22% of our members said they had difficulty hiring someone in the previous year because they felt potential employees would rather stay on EI benefits. An equally troubling 16 % said they had experienced an employee asking to be laid off so they could collect EI benefits.

At the same time, the shortage of qualified and skilled labour is rising. The most recent CFIB Business Barometer found that 34% of small businesses stated that a shortage of skilled labour is a main operating challenge. This rises to more than 50% of small businesses in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

CFIB will monitor the implementation of these changes closely to ensure they have a meaningful impact in encouraging EI recipients back to work, while reflecting the realities of seasonal industries.