Canadians at work
The latest census results from Statistics Canada confirm our population is growing older. Canada is quickly becoming a nation faced with a declining labour force just as Canadian seniors require more from health care, pensions, and our income support systems.
It means there are some tough choices ahead, and an even greater need for decisions to be made.
For that reason, the comprehensive Budget and Economic Plan 2012 puts an emphasis on doing what is necessary to ensure our economic stability. With our focus squarely on jobs, growth and prosperity, our government is taking the measures required to address an aging population and a shrinking labour force.
To address the growing aging population we have raised the age of eligibility for OAS beginning in 2023 and by doing so have ensured that the program remains stable and available to retiring Canadians, who today live longer, healthier lives than any generation before it.
To address a shrinking labour force, we have put a greater emphasis on the skilled labour class through our immigration system so that our immigration system supports the skills gap we are already facing in many sectors of the economy.
In the same regard, to protect our productivity, we have implemented improvements to the Employment Insurance program to ensure that every Canadian who has the skills and wants to work can find employment.
Despite what you may have heard, these changes are not about forcing people to move or take jobs that have nothing to do with their qualifications. In other words, Canadians will not be required to take jobs for which they are not suited or which are unreasonable based on their personal circumstances.
In fact, these changes recognize that there are Canadians who are having difficulty finding work at various times during the year, particularly in parts of the country where much of the economy is based on seasonal industries. Our Government is working to help these Canadians find jobs in their local area, appropriate to their qualifications. Canadians want to work and the reasonable, common-sense changes to EI will help Canadians get back to work faster.
For those who are unable to find employment, Employment Insurance will continue to be there for them, as it always has been.
As the Prime Minister said in the House of Commons recently, “We want to make sure people can get jobs when jobs are available, rather than employment insurance. We want to make sure that when jobs are available Canadians get first crack at those jobs, not temporary foreign workers.”
Since the recession, Canada has created more than 750,000 jobs, the best track record in the G8. Job creation and the availability of a skilled and employable workforce ensures that our economy will remain stable and that we can continue to provide the kinds of benefits, pensions and social supports, especially in retirement, that Canadians depend upon.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure that Canadians are working. It’s good for the economy, it’s good for employers—and most importantly, it’s good for Canadians and their families.
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country. He can be reached at [email protected] or 250 470-5075.
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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.
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