moved for leave to introduce Bill C-605, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (protecting the Employment Insurance Operating Account).
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand in the House today to introduce my bill on the protection of the employment insurance operating account. I want to thank my colleague, the member for Trois-Rivières, for seconding the motion. The bill essentially builds a fence around the account to protect the premiums paid into the EI account by workers and employers. It safeguards the account so that contributions can only be used for the purposes of the Employment Insurance Act. Why is that important? It is important because Liberal and Conservative governments have taken off with $57 billion of contributions made by workers and businesses to ensure that the fund was there when workers were unemployed and needed it. It has been desperately painful.
As a result of changes that the Liberals and the Conservatives have made to employment insurance, the use and eligibility has now dropped to an all-time low under the current government, whereby only 37% of EI applicants are eligible for benefits. I am pleased to be able to introduce the bill. I believe it will go some considerable distance to show workers and employers that this place has some faith in their ability to make sure that the fund is there when workers need it.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)