moved for leave to introduce Bill C-645, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (gratuities).
Mr. Speaker, it may seem a bit futile to introduce private members' bills on a day like today, but after working so hard with the community to get this done, it is definitely worth putting on the record.
I am very pleased to present a bill that aims to rectify a gap in our employment insurance regime. Currently, EI payments for qualifying restaurant servers are not calculated so that the servers' tips are taken into account, even though they are included when they pay taxes. That means that the EI payments servers receive are not based on their actual income but on their wages, which are very often low, as is a custom in the restaurant industry. This leaves servers at a significant economic disadvantage when they lose their jobs. It is unfair and discriminatory.
This bill would make it mandatory for servers to claim their tips as income and that EI calculations be based on that total amount. It would give servers the economic security and equal footing that they deserve.
I would like to extend my thanks to a constituent of mine, Caitlin Rooney, who brought this to my attention and for her help in the development of this bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)