The federal government is extending the deadline for its consultations on modernizing the employment insurance program.

The online survey, which was opened in August and scheduled to run until October, has been extended to Nov. 19, 2021.

In a joint statement, Carla Qualtrough, the minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion; Pierre Laliberté, the Canada Employment Insurance Commission’s commissioner for workers; and Nancy Healey, the CEIC’s commissioner for employers, said it’s in the shared interest of employees, employers and the government to revitalize and modernize the system to respond to the changing nature of work and complement the needs of the current labour market.

Read: Could the pandemic prompt employment insurance reforms?

“The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized some pre-existing gaps in access, adequacy and efficiency within the EI program and the ability for the EI system to act as an economic stabilizer during economic events. The EI program has not kept pace with the changing nature of work, falls short of supporting the self-employed and gig worker population and no longer reflects the appropriate speed, levels or flexibility of employment benefits to support workers during interruptions in their work.”

The consultations aim to establish a blueprint for an effort between the government, employers and employees to help Canadians transition out of the coronavirus pandemic and set out a roadmap of work to build back a more inclusive and resilient economy, noted the statement. It will also help the government better understand the needs of employers and employees who could benefit from improvements to the EI program.

“Although interests and considerations by all parties will not always align, the tripartite approach will ensure all perspectives are considered in outlining a measured and effective path forward on how we modernize the EI system to better support workers and employers now and into the future.”

Read: Reforms to employment insurance will help workforce: report