It's Monday the start of another work week. If you have time please cut and paste the following letter into an email to Dianne Findley, Minister of HRSDC and CC you MP.
Her email is Finley.D@parl.gc.ca ,
Feel free to edit the letter, I am certainly not a pro at this, so have at it, and her! Also forward it to your friends, employees, co-workers, family, and friends to have them send it also, PLEASE.
We need to keep the pressure on.
Dear Honourable Dianne Findley
I am writing to you today on behalf of the 2.3 Million Self Employed Canadians who now find themselves or may find themselves “unself-employed” during this economic downturn in our economy.
I was encouraged by your Governments commitment to strike a Panel of Experts to study the best way to bring Parental and Maternity benefits to some of the Self Employed men and women. There was also some inclusion in the special allotment of $500 Million for training, which is also good.
The main thrust of the National Campaign for Equality in EI for the Self Employed is to bring all of those who wish to opt in, the ability to contribute to and be able to access benefits for Medical, Parental, Maternity and General Benefits across Canada.
As it has been pointed out to you in past letters, this is very doable and legislation is there in the Employment Insurance Act to allow Parliament to quickly open it up to us.
As for determining who is or isn’t in dire need, there are many easy avenues to show the need. As the burden of proof is rightly on the Self Employed individual to show need, many mitigating factors are normally present.
Parental Benefits and Maternity Benefits and Medical Benefits would fall under the same rules and proof of need as any other Canadian applying for those Benefits.
As was mistakenly pointed out in the Canadian Press article on January 27th by a representative of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the allotment of General Benefits for the Self Employed is in fact not hard to prove need.
An assortment of documents produced by someone other than the claimant, such as, Bankruptcy Filings, Statement of Business failure by a accredited accountant, and bank statements, would certainly prove the need and failure of their livelihood. As for the other comments by the CFIB, I would like to point out that their membership is stated by them as 105,000 Independent Business people. Our numbers are 2.3 Million and we feel they do not speak for us nor should they.
Most of us have saved for rainy days such as what is now upon our nation, and unfortunately we , like most Canadians have seen those savings disappear. Even if some Self Employed had some savings left, that doesn’t mean they have to use them up before seeking Benefits, as other Canadians in the same situation do not have to. And at this time if any Canadian had any spare money to invest, just what would they invest in?
This can be done, it could be self financing just like the rest of the EI program, along with the fact that it would only add approximately 1-2 % to the allotted amount scheduled to be spent on improved EI benefits. That is very a very small investment by the current Government to save a major portion of the backbone of Canada’s economy at this time of uncertainty, if they require assistance.
In closing I will only ask that you and your departmental policy staff take a hard look at the points I have brought forward and that when you strike this Panel of Experts looking at Parental and Maternity Benefits you seek to include actual Self Employed Canadians to be an integral part of the panel.
I wish you all the best and look forward to positive news in the media and within our group as you move forward.