Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to welcome the witnesses joining us.
The amendment pertains to EI parental benefits. As the witnesses explained to the committee, the changes in Bill C-44 would make it possible for parents to extend the parental benefit period while receiving the same amount. If I'm not mistaken, they would have a choice between taking 12 months or 18 months, so rather than collecting 55% of their salary, which is already quite low in the NDP's view, they would collect just 33% over a longer period. In that sense, the measure isn't particularly helpful.
That said, in order to respect the bill's intent, I propose that the decision be revocable, and that's what amendment NDP-16 seeks to do.
It's fairly short, so I'll read you part of it:
(1.4) An election made under subsection (1.1) or 152.05(1.1) may be revoked by a major attachment claimant or an individual, as the case may be, and a new election made, in which case it is binding on the claimant, on the individual, on both claimants or on the claimant and the individual.
In that case, if the claimant's situation changed along the way and it was possible for them to return to work sooner, they could. They would still be entitled to receive the amount equivalent to 55% of their salary over 12 months. If, however, they could return to work, circumstances permitting, the period would be shortened.
I asked whether that scenario would be possible, and the answer wasn't no. Would it make things be a bit more complicated from an administrative standpoint? Of course.
Nevertheless, I don't think the administrative complexity is a major hurdle, given that the measure would give claimants greater flexibility. I think we can deal with a bit of complexity in order to do right by Canadians, whose situations can vary from claimant to claimant.
That is the purpose of amendment NDP-16. I hope my colleagues will support it. Even though the measure isn't perfect, it could help by allowing for a bit more flexibility.