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Trudeau Says Feds to Create EI-Like Benefit for Gig, Contract Workers

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OTTAWA—The federal government plans to move as many out-of-work Canadians into the employment insurance system when a key emergency benefit runs out in the fall, and provide an Employment Insurance(EI)-like support for millions who can’t qualify under existing rules.

The change signals a potentially sweeping overhaul to the decades-old social safety net criticized in recent years for not keeping up with a modern labor force marked by increasing contract and gig work.

It was partly because of those holes that the government created the $80-billion Canada Emergency Response Benefit at the start of the pandemic, which is set to wind down over the coming weeks.

Those who already qualify for EI will be moved to that program.

The government is promising a parallel, transitional benefit with EI-like components for those who can’t yet—”and I emphasize yet,” said Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough—get into the EI system. It will include access to training and the ability to work more hours without having as steep a clawback in benefit payments.

The government is also promising to relax EI eligibility rules like the number of hours required to receive support payments.

Speaking Friday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the goal is to move everyone receiving CERB to employment insurance, and cover anyone looking for work “with a better, 21st-century EI system.”

Details will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

The government’s most recent CERB figures show $62.75 billion in benefits to 8.46 million people. About half of those recipients have gone to EI-eligible workers.

Those eye-popping numbers were the reason the EI system was shelved in favor of the CERB in March, as federal officials worried the volume of claims would overwhelm the decades-old system.

The government is still expecting millions to be on EI come the fall—about four million, Qualtrough said, adding that the system has been tested and was ready to handle the deluge upon its restart.

“We believe that the CERB has served its purpose and the reason it was created is no longer the main focus of our efforts as a government to support workers,” Qualtrough said during a mid-afternoon press conference.

“We are going to move on to something different.”

The Liberals are hoping the change prods more Canadians to either go back to work or look for a job as the economy moves into what the Bank of Canada has described as a recuperation period before a long, bumpy recovery.

The recuperation appears to have started in May when the economy grew by 4.5 percent, Statistics Canada reported Friday, re-emerging from severe lockdowns in March and April. That figure beat expectations, and a further sign of optimism was a preliminary estimate of 5 percent growth in June, which will be finalized next month.

The national data agency said rebounds in May were seen across multiple industries, including retail trade registered that saw its largest monthly increase since comparable readings began in 1961.

“May’s GDP numbers demonstrate that our economy is rebounding from all-time lows, but the growth numbers we’re seeing simply represent businesses reopening after needed lockdowns,” said Trevin Stratton, chief economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Despite the two months of growth after two months of negative readings, Statistics Canada’s preliminary estimate is that economic output contracted by 12 percent in the second quarter compared to the first three months of 2020, which would be a historic drop.

Statistics Canada said economic activity still remained 15 percent below pre-pandemic level despite the gains over May.

Recouping the remaining percentage points will take months, if not longer. Much will rest on how many companies may yet close, how many jobs disappear with them.

“It’s a question of uncertainty at this point and how much damage the shutdowns have done,” said Benjamin Reitzes, BMO’s director of Canadian rates and macro strategist.

“We don’t really have that much information at this point, but if you consider the number of small businesses that are under significant pressure, maybe not surviving this period and the scarring broadly on the economy from things like that … it’s going to take time to recover from that.”

The federal government also announced Friday that it is extending a commercial rent-relief program through August as a lifeline to many small businesses whose revenues, while slowly returning, still lag behind their fixed costs.

So far the program has helped about 63,000 small business tenants through forgivable federal loans totaling $613 million. It is well below what the government hoped when it rolled out the aid.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said the announcement is good news for those who can access the program, but called it a “slap in the face” for those whose landlords refuse to apply.

The organization called on the federal government to allow tenants to apply directly for help.

“Rent relief needs an overhaul now,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president.

By Jordan Press

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Gig Based Business Market Analysis & Technological Innovation by Leading Key Players

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Gig Based Business Market Analysis & Technological Innovation by Leading Key Players

This report Added by Market Study Report, LLC, focuses on factors influencing the present scenario of the ‘ Gig Based Business market’. The research report also offers concise analysis referring to commercialization aspects, profit estimation and market size of the industry. In addition, the report highlights the competitive standing of major players in the projection timeline which also includes their portfolios and expansion endeavors.

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  • Which of these products – , in the industry has the maximum potential in the Gig Based Business market?
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    • Project Worker
    • Part-Time
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    , may crop to be one of the most lucrative application segments of the Gig Based Business market?

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  • Which among the companies –
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Further details included in the Gig Based Business market report are the ones subject to the sales channels adopted by numerous manufacturers to make sure that the most appropriate commercialization methodology is chosen for their products (including direct and indirect marketing). Also, information with regards to the contribution by traders and distributors across the supply chain are included in the study.

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1. Global Sales Tax Software Market 2020 by Company, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast to 2025
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