Friday, May 25, 2012

A Good Environment For Mushrooms, Not Democracy

Government policy conducted in dark secrecy, as I suggested in my last post, is difficult for the critical thinker to evaluate; that task is made even more arduous when it is hidden within an omnibus bill, as is the case with the reforms to Employment Insurance eligibility.

However, one piece of information has emerged that perhaps makes the job a little easier. The CBC's Allison Crawford reports that a new Social Security Tribunal will replace about 1,000 part-time members of the Employment Insurance Board of Referees and 32 umpires, and that same tribunal will also hear appeals from Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security claimants.

Under the current system, most appeals on denials of benefits are heard within 30 days. Under the new Tribunal, to be in place next year, it is difficult to see how complaints will be dealt with expeditiously, since it will consist of only 74 members, half of whom will hear the E.I complaints.

University of Ottawa law professor Lucie Lamarche says the new measure, which comes on page 196 of the more than 400-page budget implementation bill, is "well-hidden," and she fears that under the new system, applicants will have to hire lawyers. She says it appears that under the legislation, people will have to make more technical, legal arguments.

So, a little more information, ferreted out by diligent journalists and citizens, has perhaps helped in my quest to critically assess the 'new and improved' E.I. program.

No comments:

Post a Comment