“Migrant or temporary foreign workers are critically important to our local economy in Haldimand-Norfolk and throughout southwestern Ontario.
“The contributions of temporary foreign workers to our workforce, particularly in seasonal industries like agriculture, help ensure that our employers are successful and get the work done that is needed.
“At the same, it’s also important that national systems like EI are grounded in fairness. We need to make sure that people eligible to receive benefits are treated equally.
“Until recently, people who were no longer eligible to live or work in Canada were able to collect EI special benefits.
“This was inconsistent with the EI program which exists to support people who are available for work as they transition back into the Canadian labour market.
“The changes that were made mean that now, only individuals who are legally allowed to live and work in Canada – and have a valid social insurance number – are able to receive benefits.
“As an example: if temporary foreign workers from southwestern Ontario are still authorized to work in Canada, then EI special benefits, such as sickness or parental benefits, will be available to them as they always were before.
“I certainly appreciate the concerns that were raised today at my constituency office. The residents of Haldimand-Norfolk can rest assured that our government will ensure people in this riding, and all across the country, are treated fairly and consistently when it comes to the programs offered in Canada.”