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Canadian Chamber Addresses Bill S-244 Before Senate Committee

Canadian Chamber Addresses Bill S-244 Before Senate Committee

On November 30, 2023, we addressed Bill S-244, an Act to establish the Employment Insurance Council, before the Standing Senate Committee on Bill S-244.

On Thursday, November 30, our Senior Director, Future of Work, Diana Palmerin-Velasco testified in front of a Standing Senate Committee on Bill S-244, an Act to amend the Department of Employment and Social Development Act and the Employment Insurance Act to establish the Employment Insurance Council. We support the establishment of the Employment Insurance Council to strengthen the work that the Employment Insurance Commission has done to facilitate business and labour input into employment policy in Canada.  

WATCH THE TESTIMONY AND READ THE FULL REMARKS BY DIANA PALMERIN-VALESCO BELOW.

Good morning Madam Chair, Deputy Chair and committee members, and thank you for the opportunity to appear today as part of your examination of Bill S-244, an Act to amend the Department of Employment and Social Development Act and the Employment Insurance Act to establish the Employment Insurance Council.


I’m Diana Palmerin Velasco, Senior Director, Future of Work at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce represents some 200,000 Canadian businesses, through more than 450 local, provincial and territorial chambers, plus 100 association members.


The Canadian Chamber has played a leading role in the discussions resulting in this Bill and has officially endorsed it. Our President and CEO, The Honourable Perrin Beatty, has stated that:


“With the creation of an employment insurance advisory council, Senator Bellemare’s Bill S-244 will enshrine a true and meaningful tripartite approach between business, labour and government. This will ensure that the Employment Insurance program is sustainable, responsive, non-partisan, inclusive and relevant for the current and future generation of Canadian employers and employees”.


The Canadian economy faces multiple challenges, and the world of work is rapidly changing. In the context of the post-pandemic recovery, an aging population, skills shortages and transition to the digital and green economy, we need to create conditions for business, labour and government to work together as true partners. To achieve this, productive dialogue and exchange of ideas and information among partners must continuously take place through an ongoing process of engagement designed to build mutual understanding.


One of the main purposes of Bill S-244 is to enhance social dialogue within the Canada Employment Insurance Commission. Since 1990, employers and workers fund the EI system in its entirety. As a matter of principle, it’s only fair that business and labour have access to a tripartite institutionalized structure through the establishment of the Employment Insurance Council. This Council would allow business and labour to provide advice and agree on mutually acceptable and beneficial recommendations regarding labour market policies. Particularly, as they relate to employment insurance and skills development.


The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines social dialogue as “a tripartite process where all types of negotiation, consultation, or simply exchange of information between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers, on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy take place”.


Unlike consultation, social dialogue is not a short lived, unilateral process. It is a proven governance tool that has worked well in several countries and across several international organizations. Successful social dialogue structures and processes have proven potential to resolve important economic and social issues.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce supports the establishment of the Employment Insurance Council to strengthen the work that for almost 20 years, the Employment Insurance Commission has done to facilitate business and labour input into employment policy in Canada. Employers are invested in the viability of the EI program and as such we want to be true partners in finding and implementing solutions to ensure a well-functioning system that meets the needs and expectations of Canadians.


Thank you for providing me with this opportunity to appear, and I would be pleased to take any questions you might have.

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