moved for leave to introduce Bill C-308, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (improvement of the employment insurance system).
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank my hon. colleague from Saint-Lambert for seconding this bill.
This bill is without a doubt extremely important for unemployed workers, since it improves the employment insurance system. The priority remains improving access to the system, since over 55% of unemployed workers are excluded from it at this time. We would therefore like to reduce the qualifying period to a minimum of 360 hours of work.
We would also like to increase the benefit period, which is currently 45 weeks. The budget increases that period by five weeks, but we would like that increase to 50 weeks to become permanent. The bill also increases the rate of weekly benefits to 60% of a claimant's revenue.
In addition, we hope to eliminate the distinctions between a new entrant and a re-entrant to the labour force. Those distinctions are completely discriminatory. We must also eliminate the presumption that persons related to each other do not deal with each other at arm’s length, and increase the maximum yearly insurable earnings to $42,500.
The bill also adds a new part to the act relating to self-employed persons, including them in the employment insurance system.
As I said, it is an extremely important bill. All parties in this House have agreed that access to the employment insurance system and the benefits themselves must be improved. Our bill aims to do just that. I encourage all members to support it.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)