A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

EI Update

We can now confirm that EI payments WILL NOT COMMENCE UNTIL AFTER YOUR PAPERWORK IS SEEN AT YOUR LOCAL EI OFFICE.

You may file your application on line and fill in the reports every two weeks as requested but NOTHING WILL HAPPEN until you visit the local office. Once there it takes just a couple of minutes to confirm and stamp your paperwork. When asked about the confusion about on line application the EI rep simply snickered and said “There is lots of that happening”

Obviously the workers in the field are fully aware of this problem, why then is there no instruction anywhere for applicants to attend the office.

On line Application – NO SUCH INSTRUCTION

Application received paperwork – NO SUCH INSTRUCTION

Bi weekly reports on line – NO SUCH INSTRUCTION

Employment records – NO SUCH INSTRUCTION

I shall be writing to my MP and the minister responsible with a cc to the opposition on this one. I suggest if you have also gone through this you also contact your MP.

Drop back later to see a copy of my letter!

Once again a T/H to Scott at http://randboro.blogspot.com/ for making us aware of this.

UPDATE.. Here is that letter:-


Hon. Diane Finley
Minister for Human Resources and Social Development.
Finley.D@parl.gc.ca

Madam.

I draw your attention to a major flaw in the on-line Employment Insurance application and reporting system which is causing unnecessary hardship and angst amongst many of the thousands of recently laid off workers.

Many workers have chosen to apply for EI using the on line web site provided and this process is reasonably easy and straight forward. After filing we receive a letter by mail acknowledging receipt of our application and saying it is being processed, calls to the 800 line after filing our by-weekly reports say the same thing.

Unfortunately this is NOT the case, after waiting many weeks and having still not received any payment we discovered (from discussions with other EI recipients) that it is a requirement to visit the local EI office IN PERSON before any application can be processed. This process took just a few minutes once we were aware that it was necessary and made the drive to the nearest office.

The problem is that there is no indication that this visit is necessary on ANY of the paperwork received or on ANY of the on line instructions and guidance viewed when applying or filing reports. An applicant using the on-line system simply is left thinking that the EI application is being processed and that funds will be forthcoming, is in fact told that on-line, on the 800 line and by mail when in fact it is actually stalled until such time as they personally visit the EI office.

I repeat – NO INDICATION THAT THIS IS NECESSARY IS EVER GIVEN DURING THE PROCESS.

I do note that some applicants have, upon enquiring, received this information via an operator on the 800 line however all, ourselves included, have experienced great difficulty in getting that far as the lines are so busy that we are advised each time to “try again later”. I further note that both the telephone help personnel and the office personnel are aware of this problem and nothing is being done to correct it.

May I suggest that you give this immediate attention by putting this information on the 800 line when checking the status of one’s claim, putting it on the post application information provided on-line and putting on the information provided after one completes an on-line by-weekly report.
Not providing this information to those that choose to apply on-line is simply NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Regards

(Rural)

cc.

Larry Miller MP Miller.L@parl.gc.ca

Bill Murdoch MPP bill_murdochco@ontla.ola.org

Stephen Harper MP/PM Harper.S@parl.gc.ca

Jack Layton MP Layton.J@parl.gc.ca

Michael Ignatieff MP Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca

Elizabeth May leader@greenparty.ca

Owen Sound Sun Times http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/

The Rural Canadian http://ruralcanadian.blogspot.com/

Scott Murray http://randboro.blogspot.com/

5 comments:

Scott in Montreal said...

I like your letter, Rural. I think the salient point for Service Canada is to better explain the need to get the Report(s) of Employment in their hands.

A brochure with an overview of the process could be included with the letter sent after the online application is made. That's the sort of communication the Quebec government has become very good at in recent years.

And try this on for size:
The evident lack of call centre agents to handle the load points to a wonderful job creation opportunity for the minister in this period of rising unemployment, wouldn't you agree?

janfromthebruce said...

Well Rural, I will do a post on this. Some employers do send your separation slip to the EI office, and you do not have to attend. The employer has a responsibility to ensure that you get your separation slip within a certain number of days, and you can either attend in person or send it by post (I would send it by registered mail).
This a problem in rural due to transportation issues.
You are right, the information is not available on line.

Rural said...

Thanks guys, we did have the Seperation slip in hand within two weeks but had assumed that the employer was obligated to send a copy to the EI folks and that it would progress from there. Aparently not!

usability4government said...

Rural,
Might I also suggest adding a cc for good measure to the person who might be in a position to change the site - the Webmaster. :)
Laura

Rural said...

Good suggestion Laura, however even that is not easy. Took me a while to find “Your comments matter” response page which has a long multiple choice form which must be filled in on line (not dial up friendly) and no direct email link to “webmaster”. Shall send them a link to these pages anyway……