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Objectif Emploi and bill 70

The Couillard government is preparing a major reform of the welfare system and return to workfare through the introduction of Bill 70 and the creation of the Objectif Emploi program.

What are Bill 70 and Objectif Emploi?

The purpose of Bill 70 is to create the Objectif Emploi program which would impose obligatory employability measures on first-time welfare applicants without severe limitations to employment.  Any failure to fulfil part of this program, as determined by the Ministry, would lead to financial penalties that could go as far as cutting the basic benefit of 623 dollars a month in half.

Who would be affected by the Objectif Emploi program?

The majority of first-time welfare applicants are either immigrants or young people.  However, a wide variety of people with different life experiences would be affected.  For example, youth who have not been able to finish high school, immigrants unable to have their education or overseas experience recognised by potential employers, workers who have run out of employment insurance benefits, women fleeing domestic violence, homeless people trying to get off the street, and people struggling with addiction issues.  In order to push through this return to workfare the government has relied on propagating common prejudices against unemployed people by for example, insisting that financial penalties are needed in order for people to enroll in employability measures.

Objectif Emploi :  A completely unacceptable program. 

With Objectif Emploi, the Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity (MESS) is aiming at the wrong target.  People on welfare face many obstacles to employment.  For example, working conditions are precarious and income is frequently too low.  There is fierce competition for the few jobs that are available and ageism, discrimination, illiteracy, insufficient or inadequate employability programs, and a lack of access to education are all factors that make it very difficult to find work.

Certainly we must improve welfare – by raising the rates and offering good quality voluntary programs that are adapted to the needs of people.  Obviously, employment measures that support people with functional limitations must also be improved.

Translate extract of the Déclaration d’appui contre le projet de loi 70, of the Coalition Objectif Dignité