House of Commons Hansard #208 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was witnesses.

Topics

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the loss of this data was totally unacceptable, especially as it was all avoidable.

That said, I have instructed the department to change the way it handles Canadians' data. It is changing its systems. It is changing the processes. It is providing training, mandatory training, to all staff who deal with personal data so that this sort of situation can never happen again.

My officials would be pleased to appear before committee very soon.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, what is totally unacceptable is the minister's lack of accountability. For example, she says the data was lost in November. We know that is not true. She says that she provided those people with the best protection possible. That certainly is not true.

Now we have students like Natasha, from Kemptville, who has received notice that she was affected. The problem is, though, she did not apply for her student loan until 2007. The minister said that was not possible.

Would the minister state, unequivocally, that only students between 2000 and 2006 were impacted?

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the department has made every effort to contact those for whom information is available, who were involved in this, to make sure that they are, number one, aware of the situation and also that the Government of Canada will be providing credit protection for them for a period of six years.

The department is also changing the way information is stored, the way it is processed and the way it is shared so that this sort of thing cannot happen again.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

February 11th, 2013 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, my question is simple, and it is directed toward the Prime Minister.

Why is the Conservative government essentially stealing early Canada pension plan payments from seasonal workers who are on employment insurance? Not only are the crippling changes made to employment insurance affecting those who are fortunate to gain a day's work, with a clawback of 50¢ on the dollar; EI changes also claw back early pensions, pensions that seasonal workers paid for.

Will the Prime Minister fix the problem so seasonal workers' pensions are protected from this legal theft?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the changes are there to make sure that we take away things that discourage workers from working. There were parts of the employment insurance—

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Human Resources has the floor.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

As the employment insurance system was administered previously, people were discouraged from working. When they had the opportunity to work part time, the EI system discouraged them from doing it.

With so many employers looking for workers full time and part time, we needed to make sure that they had access to the people for the right reasons. We needed to make sure that we were supporting families when they wanted to work and make them and their families better off.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the wake of a number of questions from the NDP, Quebec's employment and social security minister is calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Conservatives' EI reform. The Conservative government in New Brunswick is also demanding an urgent meeting.

Every day, my office receives hundreds of phone calls and emails from discouraged workers who are wondering why the Conservatives are targeting them.

When will the Conservatives understand that gutting the EI program is simply unacceptable and is hurting our economy?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I have to wonder why the NDP continues to spread fear among the unemployed. That is unacceptable. It wants to ignore the facts: we have removed the obstacles that discouraged the unemployed from working, whether it be full time or part time. The NDP does not want us to help the unemployed find work that would help them, their families and their communities. We want to help the unemployed find work.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's labour minister is in Ottawa to talk about why Conservative cuts to EI will hurt provincial labour markets. Provincial governments, seasonal workers, municipal groups and local businesses are all united against the Conservative's short-sighted cuts to EI.

Consulting stakeholders is a basic principle of competent public administration, something this minister just does not get. Now that she is finally talking to the provinces, will the minister actually listen to these concerns and rescind her reckless cuts to EI?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about cuts. In fact, it is just the opposite. What we are doing is enhancing the assistance that is provided to people who are unemployed, maybe helping them find another job. We have expanded the job bank considerably so that it shows a lot more jobs that are available. We are also making sure that people are aware of those jobs. If they do not have access, we are sending them notifications so that they are aware of the opportunities for which they are qualified in their areas. I think that is a big improvement in helping connect Canadians with the jobs available.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Francine Raynault Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, workers have had more than enough of the minister's evasive answers. They know that they are being unfairly punished by the employment insurance reforms, no matter what the Conservative Party says.

There are many workers and employers in Quebec and eastern Canada who depend on seasonal jobs, and now they are considered to be bad guys. The Conservatives are tearing apart the social safety net and passing the bill on to the provinces, which must now pick up the tab for social assistance.

Will the minister finally admit that she has made a mistake and immediately announce that she is suspending these unwarranted reforms?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong.

We are helping people find work, which is better for them, their families and their communities. If more people work, fewer people will be applying for social assistance from the Government of Quebec. That makes sense. We are making these changes to help people find positions in their area for which they are qualified and to help them get these jobs.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the minister says there have been no cuts. This would mean that the five-week pilot project has been restored. I wish to thank the minister for that.

The EI reform is causing chaos in my region and across eastern Canada. Workers blocked downtown Tracadie-Sheila this morning. It was the third protest in five days. The New Brunswick Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, who is a Conservative, is asking for an emergency meeting because he realizes that the reform is unfair and simply will not fly.

Does the minister realize that we are in this situation because she did not want to consult with workers or the provinces? She can toss her reform in the garbage.