I hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving.

I am pleased to confirm, that effective immediately, the Government of Canada will deliver increased benefits to Canadian Forces Veterans. This will be accomplished by ending the deduction of Veterans’ disability pensions when calculating their Earnings Loss and Canadian Forces Income Support benefits. A disability pension will no longer be considered when calculating the War Veterans Allowance benefit. Officials will also be reviewing the records of those who are eligible for the Earnings Loss Benefit and may now be able to receive a payment.

Earnings Loss Benefit and Canadians Forces Income Support Benefit recipients who are also in receipt of a disability pension from Veterans Affairs Canada may see a significant increase in their payment in the coming weeks. All affected recipients will be notified in writing with details of the recalculation and change to their payment. If you are a CF Veteran and you have questions, please contact my constituency office.

Working while on claim EI pilot project adjusted

As a result of concerns raised regarding the new EI Working While on Claim Pilot Project, by my fellow Conservative MPs and I, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development will adjust the Employment Insurance (EI) Working While on Claim pilot project.

The current pilot project allows claimants to keep 50 cents for every dollar they earn from working while on claim. It removes the previous pilot project’s cap on earnings, which clawed back 100% of earnings over $75 or 40% which discouraged Canadians from accepting more available work.

Under the announced adjustment, those EI recipients who were working while on claim between August 7, 2011 and August 4, 2012 will be given the option of reverting to the rules that existed under the previous pilot program. This change will go into effect January 6, 2013, but it will be applied retrospectively to August 5, 2012 – the start of the new pilot program.

For those who choose this option, their EI benefits will not be reduced on earnings made while on claim for the first $75 or 40 percent of their benefits, whichever is greater – the same as the previous pilot program. However, all earnings above that threshold will reduce their EI benefits dollar for dollar.

Beginning January 6, 2013, eligible claimants must make the request to revert to the old pilot parameters within 30 days of their last EI benefit payment. For claims that have already ended, claimants will have 30 days from the introduction of this option.

Eligible claimants will be required to make this request for any subsequent claims for the duration of the new pilot project, which runs from August 5, 2012, until August 1, 2015. For an eligible claimant who does not choose to be considered under the previous pilot rules, all current and future claims will be processed under the new Working While on Claim pilot rules.

For an eligible claimant, if they make the decision to opt for the previous pilot, they will not be able to revert to the new pilot during the same EI claim. In addition, if, in a subsequent claim, they receive Working While on Claim benefits under the new pilot introduced on August 5, 2012 they will not be allowed to opt for the old pilot should they file another claim the following year.

As your Federal Member of Parliament, I am pleased to represent you on a variety of issues. Whether that issue is eliminating the long gun registry, promoting agriculture, international trade, AECL, the military or jobs in the working forest, I am here to serve you! As always, if you have any concerns of a federal nature, or just want to share your views with me, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

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