Government refuses to answer questions about closing the EI processing office

Ted Hsu
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This fall, I used a written Order Paper Question to ask the government for information about the decision to cut jobs at the Kingston Employment Insurance processing office while they were being increased at North Bay. That office provides an important service for Canadians who happen to lose their job, and I was hoping to learn more about what influenced the government’s decision.

tedhouseI specifically asked for details of any records regarding the decision to remove Kingston from the list of processing hub locations proposed in 2008, and adding North Bay as a processing hub location. My intention in tabling this question was to get the title and date of all records about this decision so that I might then request to see these documents.

Understanding the rationale behind government decisions is an important first step for me as an opposition MP to be able to hold the government to account. I don’t want to blindly criticize the government, I want to make sure that they are using the best possible information appropriately to inform their decisions.

As an example of a rationale which might be contained in the documents I seek, I learned elsewhere that training and skills upgrading is more efficient if workers are co-located in fewer centres.

Unfortunately, rather than providing me with the details that I requested, as required by the Standing Orders, the government simply made reference to “a comprehensive review.” Here is the “complete” response:

EI OPQ 722

I’m disappointed that the government has side-stepped my request for information about the closure of the EI processing office. The government must be upfront about their decisions to move jobs to other ridings and cut them in Kingston and the Islands.