Mr. Speaker, with regard to the letter entitled “Changes to Employment Insurance” sent by Service Canada concerning changes to the employment insurance program and in regard to (a)(i), in Newfoundland and Labrador, there were 212,572 addressees; in Nova Scotia, 396,159 addressees; in Prince Edward Island, 60,720 addressees; in New Brunswick, 328,564 addressees; and in Quebec, 3,552,488 addressees.
With regard to (a)(ii), a total of 4,550,503 letters were sent. These letters were mailed on March 19, March 20 and March 25, 2013.
With regard to (b), the final decision to move forward with this project was taken on March 7, 2013. An assessment on cost of the mailing and discussions on the letter’s content and design took place prior to a decision being taken.
With regard to (c), the final draft was approved by the minister’s office on March 8, 2013.
With regard to (d), the letter was drafted internally by departmental staff. Therefore, there is no cost associated to the development of the letter. The total cost of mailing out the letters was $823,493.24 which includes printing and postage costs, excluding taxes.
With regard to (e), it is important that policy changes to our programs be communicated to Canadians as clearly as possible. While no other similar mailings have been conducted in the past six years on employment insurance, there have been mail-outs for other programs. An example is the future change in the age of eligibility for old age security last year. Financial records are only kept by the department for six years. Contracts or procurement conducted prior to the past six years require specific details for archive retrieval such as contractor name, contract number or financial codes.