moved for leave to introduce Bill C-442, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill. I hope that it will be selected to become a votable item. This bill proposes some 15 changes to employment insurance.
As we know, some changes have been made to employment insurance since 1996. Even though there is now a $42 billion surplus in the fund, some people do not even qualify for employment insurance benefits.
In short, the major changes proposed in this bill are to reduce the number of hours from 910 to 350; to increase the number of weeks for people who may qualify; to include self-employed entrepreneurs under the EI program; to increase the level of benefits to 66%, where it should really be.
This is a very important bill. We must also ensure that an independent commission monitors the employment insurance program.
As I have said, it is a pleasure for me to present this bill in the House of Commons. I hope it will be made votable shortly, especially since we have a $42 billion surplus in employment insurance.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)