In these uncertain economic times, our government is taking real action to help Canadians. We have moved quickly to ensure that the support provided through our Economic Action Plan, Budget 2009, is available to workers and employers across the country.
Recognizing the uncertainty facing many businesses, our government introduced improvements to the Work-Sharing program, and we are seeing results. Currently, there are more than 3,300 Work-Sharing agreements nationally protecting over 110,000 jobs.
In Ontario, there are now over 1,700 agreements involving more than 62,000 workers. One of these agreements is with Toyotetsu in Simcoe. Established in 2006, the company is a stamping and welding facility that manufactures automotive parts for Toyota. At Toyotetsu, more than 200 workers have been participating in Work Sharing since March 1, 2009. There is also an agreement with Reiter Automotive Mastico Ltd. This Tillsonburg company, founded in 1995, manufacturers sound absorbing automotive components for the three major automakers. Work-Sharing has been protecting about 200 jobs at Reiter since January 18, 2009.
As part of our Economic Action Plan, our government extended Work-Sharing agreements, over the next two years, by 14 weeks to a maximum of 52 weeks to allow companies a longer time to recover. We are also increasing access to Work Sharing by providing greater flexibility in the qualifying criteria and by streamlining processes for employers. This means that more Canadians can continue working while companies experience a temporary slowdown.
Work-Sharing, an element of the Employment Insurance (EI) program, has been assisting businesses that are experiencing a temporary slowdown caused by factors beyond their control. The program is designed to help companies avoid layoffs by offering EI income benefits to qualifying workers willing to work a reduced work week while their employer recovers.
Our government knows that, by keeping Canadians working, we can minimize the impact of this difficult economic time. Work-Sharing is a good deal for everyone.
The Hon. Diane Finley, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development
Keeping Canadians working: Work-Sharing in Ontario (2)