October 2012 Parliamentary Report
The Environment Committee will soon study urban conservation issues. Questions to be considered will include “how best to connect urban Canadians with conservation” and “what are best practices in urban conservation”. My hope is that this will include consideration of how expanding urban areas can best include conservation goals in their planning. In Southern Ontario, we benefit from the tremendous experience and expertise of the Grand River Conservation Authority. GRCA personnel can be proud of their work preserving natural landscapes in an expanding urban milieu.
Honouring Queen Elizabeth's 60th year as Monarch the Government struck a commemorative medal to honour Canadians who've made outstanding community contributions. I was allotted 30 medals to award.
Each area MP agreed to dedicate 4 medals for serving members of the Canadian Forces. To ensure impartiality for the remaining medals, I selected a committee of 4 community members, to whom I awarded a medal, to advise on the selection of all other recipients. 22 medals remained. All my constituents were informed I would accept nominations until June 5th. 26 nominations were received. The Committee decided that we not seek out other nominations.
Each committee member then ranked the 26 nominees, considering a variety of factors. The rankings were collated.
Every nominee rightly deserves a medal for their worthy efforts on behalf of us all, so the final decisions were difficult.
MP Albrecht and I will hold a joint Awards Ceremony for 19 recipients with the most regional impact on our community. We will each also have separate ceremonies for other honorees.
My thanks to all nominees and nominators, and to the Selection Committee for their efforts.
Working While on Claim Pilot Project Adjusted
Recently concerns arose about changes to the EI Working While on Claim Pilot Project. Previously, participants kept 100% of earnings up $75.00 or 40% of their benefits. Earnings over that threshold were completely clawed back, discouraging some from accepting more available work. Recent changes removed the $75.00 cap, but also reduced their exemption from 100% to 50%. This disadvantaged some participants even where no additional work was available. The Government listened to those concerns. 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. EI claimants may now contact Service Canada for general information. More information is available at www.servicecanada.gc.ca.