I'm glad to hear that EI is getting reformed. It's about time.
I've never received EI. That doesn't mean I haven't tried. When the bust of '08 got around to busting my gig as a self-employed contractor I applied. I heard that part of the economic action plan was extending EI to self-employed people. I involuntarily paid into it. Time, I thought, to get something out.
Rejected. Truth is, I wasn't expecting much. That is government for you. Overly expensive. Predictably unimpressive. When was the last time the government did something that failed to disappoint? Exactly.
I'm not sure why I didn't qualify. I was too something. I don't care what. I don't care to be more eligible for pogey. Some bureaucrat, whom I'm also forced to subsidize, even while losing my own business, knows better than me who needs my money and when. Fine.
So lets see who these great bureaucratic minds forced me to pay instead.
There's Elizabeth May. Pogey collector and proud. She was in seasonal tourism which entitles her to an EI cheque. She was laid off and re-hired by her family's restaurant every year. That is how they planned it. That is how her family arranged their business model. Instead of scrambling to drum up winter business like true entrepreneurs, they all took a taxpayer funded vacation. Every year. Planning it into their business. They could have offered baby seal hunts. I don't know. Put them in a pen and let the kids club them. Blood red and snow white. Canada's colours! Alright, I'm kidding but you get the idea.
Dog sledding. Snow shoeing. Cross Country Skiing. Eating! Fun is what you make it. Try snowmobiling trips. Try Ice Fishing. Try Dammit! It's so much easier to collect EI than to try. Its too easy. That is why it needs to change.
Did you know these well paid union workers in Ft. McMurry collect EI once a year too?
One guy, a journeymen electrician, showed me his bank account. ~$100,000 in cash in the bank for one season's work. He was homeless. No Fixed Address. He would live in camp all winter and then get laid off in the spring. He would collect EI in his off months. He would take his $100,000 and go live in South America while still collecting EI. He gave me explicit details on how he screwed the taxpayer.
Why is this allowed? The Harper Government has already closed the door to leaving the country on EI. Good for them. Now they are looking closer at the repeat seasonal collectors. GREAT!
If people don't get EI, they will find another job. If people find another job, they won't come back. Employers in the oil sands are already in a labour crunch. To keep their workers they will need to end seasonal lay offs. Its a problem that solves itself (though whiners will lose their tax funded vacation). Other employers will do the same.
Seasonal down time can be useful. It's time to retool, retrain and plan for next season. I see it myself every single year in the oil patch. Other industries can live without perpetually repeating EI. People should live without planning to get on EI.
EI is a Safety Net, not a Hammock. Get off!