Senator Bellemare calls for reform of the Employment Insurance program through social dialogue

By: The Hon. Diane Bellemare

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Ottawa, February 16, 2023 — On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, Senator Diane Bellemare delivered a speech in the Senate in which she called on the federal government to use social dialogue to bring about meaningful reforms to the Employment Insurance program.

“Social dialogue is more than words,” explained Senator Bellemare. “It is a practice that is embedded in a place and institutions.” She added, “It is important to recognize that social dialogue is a good practice and a governance tool that delivers results.”

The United Nations, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Labour Organization strongly advocate for social dialogue. They call on all governments to create appropriate institutions to support social dialogue between governments and social partners.

The Senator said that the federal government has a responsibility to create the conditions for establishing social dialogue at the national level similarly to what more than 70 countries in the world are already doing.

According to Senator Bellemare, the Senate has the opportunity to concretely advance social dialogue in the employment sector. Several labour and employer associations, including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Labour Congress, have worked together to develop a mechanism for participation in the Canada Employment Insurance Commission that entails no financial impact. To this end, in May 2022, the Senator introduced Bill S-244, which sets out the composition and mandates of the Employment Insurance Council.

“This bill is important because we need to fundamentally reform the EI system, and contributors must be involved in this reform. It is not only a matter of principle, but also a matter of efficiency and fairness.” Senator Bellemare urges all Senators to support this bill and calls on the government to adopt it.

Senator Diane Bellemare was appointed to the Senate in 2012 and represents the province of Quebec and the region of Alma. She currently sits as a member of the Progressive Senate Group.

Read Senator Bellemare’s speech: Click here

For more information:
Ermioni Tomaras
Parliamentary Affairs Advisor
Office of the Honourable Diane Bellemare


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