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Results: 1 - 15 of 702
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mister Minister and Madam Minister, thank you for being with us today for our study on votes.
I was very interested in what you said about the anticipated increase for the new horizons for seniors program. I can actually see the benefits of this program in the riding I represent. However, I’m most interested in what is not in the votes.
I was in the House last week when we debated Motion M-201 for an hour. I was angry. I felt that wanting to take credit for a beneficial reform has its limits. In the past year, I have tried four times to introduce a motion that says essentially the same thing. Four times, what we saw earlier in that meeting happened again. The Liberals, who have the majority on our committee, asked for the debate to be adjourned so that we could not discuss it.
In the past year, our committee could have done the study on the 15 weeks of EI sickness benefits. Four times, the Liberals were not allowed to vote for the motion.
In recent months, we have studied benefits for bereaved parents, a topic we discussed earlier, episodic disabilities, and precarious employment. Each time, witnesses have told us that the employment insurance program needs to be reformed and the sickness benefits improved. Most organizations, most of the public and most unions agree that action must be taken now. There is a broad consensus. In the past year, the committee could have taken action and conducted that study.
You met with Marie-Hélène Dubé, who collected 600,000 signatures. Yesterday, I held a public session in my riding on this issue, which was very popular. The issue affects people. Last week, I asked you about the story of William Morissette, from New Brunswick, who, in addition to fighting cancer, has to fight the government for his benefits. That's outrageous.
This reflected the many accounts we heard from people in similar situations who have exhausted the 15 weeks of sickness benefits to which they were entitled. Some sick people, like William Morissette, are turning to crowdfunding to survive. This can be seen across the country.
Figures from your department indicate that 150,000 people need more than 15 weeks. Let me stress that we are talking about 150,000 people who have qualified for employment insurance. The distinction is important. As witnesses from your department who appeared before our committee indicated, 6 of 10 people do not qualify for employment insurance.
Mr. Minister, in 2016, you and the Prime Minister said on, Radio-Canada’s Téléjournal, that employment insurance sickness benefits should be improved.
Sick people are looking forward to hearing what you intend to do about those benefits. So let me ask my question again. Mr. Minister, when exactly will you be improving EI sickness benefits?
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
I apologize for interrupting you, Minister, but I would prefer to know when the sickness benefits will be increased.
Still, I would like to take the time I have left to ask you a second question, about measuring poverty.
In your strategy, you have chosen a measure that decreases the poverty rate for seniors from 14.2% to 4.9%. According to the economist Andrew Jackson, the low-income measure counted 828,000 poor seniors in 2016, while the market basket measure included only 284,000 for the same period.
In addition, you said that 40,000 seniors—I took careful note—would be entitled to the guaranteed income supplement, but would not automatically receive it yet.
You are therefore choosing a measure that, statistically speaking, reduces the number of poor seniors. However, 40,000 more seniors may be eligible for the guaranteed income supplement.
However, in Budget 2019, there is nothing about the needs of the most vulnerable, no substantial amount for social housing for refugees, no strategy for indigenous people, either urban or rural.
Why are you playing with statistics to reduce the number of poor seniors in Canada? Why are those 40,000 seniors who are entitled to the guaranteed income supplement still not receiving it automatically?
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I thank the witnesses for their statements.
Madam Minister, you spoke about improvements to the Registered Disability Savings Plan. That is not clear to me yet. The main estimates show an increase of 44% over the previous fiscal year. The program has existed for ten years, and the participation rate is not very high.
Men are overrepresented at present. How do you think you could increase the participation rate for women? Are you considering reviewing the eligibility criteria? Currently this is based on the disability tax credit, which is not refundable. There are people who do not ask for it, or don't know about it.
I'd like to know how you are going to bring about this increase, please.
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you.
Minister, regarding the Canada Learning Bonds, for those who have a registered education savings plan, there is a 16% increase in the main estimates. This is a complex program that requires a long-term relationship with a financial institution.
I'd like to know how you intend to increase the popularity of the plan, to encourage low-income families that are difficult to convince to open an RESP. Are you planning something to simplify registration? How can we see to it that every child will have access to an education savings plan?
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you Mr. Chair.
Thank you to the witnesses for being here.
In the departmental plan on page 50, we see that the rate of health and safety violations in federally regulated workplaces has increased by 50% over two years.
I would like someone to explain that trend to me.
Will the amounts requested in the supplementary estimates allow you to deal with this issue?
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
It's on page 50 of the 2019-2020 ESDC departmental plan.
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
I thank you in advance for sending the clerk of the committee the answer to that question.
One of the themes that recur in the departmental plan is the inclusive character of the labour market. When we talk about inclusion, we are talking about the participation of many groups, such as women, indigenous persons, young people, seniors.
In 2018, the Office of the Auditor General noticed that the department had compiled no information on the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy or other funds. There were no indicators allowing you to verify whether programs were providing the expected outcomes. The Auditor General also pointed out that the department had not allocated funds to the organizations according to current regional needs or prior successes.
This leads me to the following question. In the departmental plan, you mention labour market participation rates for a certain number of groups. If you have no targets or indicators, how will you determine if you have attained the objective of making the labour market inclusive?
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you.
The minister spoke to us about placements.
The main estimates refer to expanding the Student Work Placement Program. We know there is an issue with the lack of alignment between the skills students possess and the jobs that are offered. How can the department ensure that the jobs become a springboard toward real jobs on the labour market subsequently?
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Like many of my colleagues, I can state that the Canada Summer Jobs initiative brings significant benefits. That is the case for organizations and the municipalities of the Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot riding, whether we are talking about leisure activities for young people or the environment, an area in which there are many projects. However, once again this year, demand was twice as high as the available funding. Dividing up the funds equitably among the various organizations and municipalities while meeting their needs required a lot of mental gymnastics.
Are you considering another increase to the funding for Canada Summer Jobs? There is a major need. There are a lot of students. Demographically speaking, there will be a whole cohort of young people. How can we help a maximum number of students and organizations at the same time?
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Yes. In fact, I organized an after-work get together last summer. I invited students who had taken part in Canada Summer Jobs programs. I heard some very positive stories about some of the very relevant experiences the students had had.
In another connection, the minister spoke about hiring more mediators. However, the annual report of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service pointed out that the number of cases has been in keeping with the averages over the past ten years. Why do we need an additional investment? Why were these funds allocated to dispute resolution rather than to the enforcement of the Labour Code or to the resolution of individual complaints from non-union workers, for instance?
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, Mr. Sheehan.
As you showed in your presentation, underlying your motion is our need to develop a definition. You heard me when I asked several witnesses who appeared before the committee whether we could use the definition from the International Labour Organization as a basis. You said earlier that there is no consensus, and all the witnesses told me it was difficult to provide a precise definition because it will not necessarily be restrictive. On the one hand, your motion seeks to develop a definition to target government objectives and solutions on precarious employment. On the other hand, we also know that a definition will not help Canadians who are currently faced with an emergency.
In light of the testimony that shows how difficult it is to develop a definition, which is really the basis of your motion, what could we recommend to the government?
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
As you and Mr. Fong pointed out, it is also important to establish a link with poverty. You talked about that earlier when you said that women's incomes were lower and that women still had jobs that were traditionally less well paid.
Earlier in the discussion, we talked about guaranteed minimum income that, like the pilot projects carried out in Manitoba and Ontario, can also be one of the potential solutions.
Do you think we could recommend that the federal government follow suit to ensure those pilot projects are carried out and that we better document the issue of guaranteed minimum income? Essentially, based on your motion, our recommendations should help move things in that direction.
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My question is primarily for Mr. Michaud.
You told us that amendments have been made to the Canada Labour Code. You also talked about the expert panel.
Although it is important for labour standards to exist for people with non-standard jobs, is it enough to improve accessibility? That is a first step, but, throughout your presentation, you talked about how the labour market has changed.
Statistics Canada also talked to us about that, especially when it comes to emerging industries and the digital economy. Instead of improving labour laws, would it not be necessary to carry out an in-depth review, as the labour market is completely different than it was when those laws were drafted?
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
Okay. Thank you.
One of your colleagues, Mr. Brown, has heard me say a number of times that it was necessary to comprehensively reform the employment insurance system. We are still waiting for that to happen.
Witnesses and representatives of various organizations have come to say before the committee that a large number of workers have contributed to the employment insurance plan and did not have access to it, in part because they did not have enough hours worked. We have often heard that.
What adjustments could we make to the employment insurance system, aside from reducing the number of hours of work required, to further help part-time or contract workers with temporary jobs?
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