Mr. Speaker, POWA, the program for older worker adjustment, provides monthly financial support for older workers unable to find work a year after a major permanent layoff.
The mine in Port Hardy, B.C. closed in 1995. Seventy older workers in good faith and after years of hard work and faced with no job prospects in the North Island immediately made application for program assistance. They qualified as a group.
In October 1996 it was announced that federal support would end for any new applicant. However, now it is unclear that the funding commitment to approved applicants from 1995 and early 1996 is in play.
I want to put the government and the Minister of Human Resources Development on notice that retroactive cancellation of financial support is unacceptable. These older miners qualify for and have a longstanding expectation to receive the benefits of the program. If the government offers a program it must fund it.