In 2009 the NLEC began a concerted lobby for Employment Insurance (EI) Reform. EI remains one of the biggest issues for NLEC member employers and is a barrier to addressing labour market challenges, with many employers reporting they feel they are competing with the EI system for labour. The NLEC’s lobby included meetings with multiple Federal Cabinet Ministers, a survey by Corporate Research Associates that demonstrated the magnitude of the problem, and numerous public relations events and initiatives designed to educate the public about the need to modernize our Employment Insurance System.
The feedback from both the business community and the general public was significant and positive. There is a clear recognition in our province that EI system does not fit with the current realities of our current labour market. The NLEC was extremely pleased with the Federal Government’s reforms which took effect in January 6, 2013. While more change is needed, these reforms were viewed by the business community as a step in the right direction.
The NL Employers’ Council (NLEC) met with the Council of Atlantic Premiers in St. John’s on January 14th, 2014 to ask the Atlantic Premiers to reconsider their opposition to Employment Insurance (EI) reforms. The resulting report issued in June of 2014 by the Atlantic Premiers, although ant-EI reform in nature recognized many of the issues raised by the NLEC in its submission and its public commentary. While the NLEC continues to monitor this issue, it seems to have dropped off the radar for the Atlantic Premiers. The Federal Government has indicated that it plans to move ahead with a complete overhaul of the EI system in 2017.