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  • Mobility pricing must be fair and equitable for all April 12, 2018
    As Metro Vancouver’s population has grown, so have its traffic congestion problems. Whether it’s a long wait to cross a bridge or get on a bus, everyone can relate to the additional time and stress caused by a transportation system under strain. Mobility pricing is seen as a solution to Metro Vancouver’s transportation challenges with […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Budget 2018: The Most Disappointing Budget Ever March 14, 2018
    Premier Pallister’s Trump-esque statement that budget 2018 was going to be the “best budget ever” has fallen a bit flat. Instead of a bold plan to deal with climate change, poverty and our crumbling infrastructure, we are presented with two alarmist scenarios to justify further tax cuts and a lack of decisive action: the recent […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • 2018 Federal Budget Analysis February 14, 2018
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis Some baby steps for dad and big steps forward for women, by Kate McInturff (CCPA) An ambition constrained budget, by David Macdonald (CCPA) Five things […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CED in Manitoba - The Video January 29, 2018
    Community Economic Development in Manitoba - nudging capitalism out of the way?
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • With regional management BC’s iconic forest industry can benefit British Columbians rather than multinational corporations January 17, 2018
    Forests are one of the iconic symbols of British Columbia, and successive governments and companies operating here have largely focussed on the cheap, commodity lumber business that benefits industry. Former provincial forestry minister Bob Williams, who has been involved with the industry for five decades, proposes regional management of this valuable natural resource to benefit […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

EI Financing: We Told You So

On the first of this month, I appeared before the Senate’s Standing Committee on National Finance regarding the Employment Insurance (EI) provisions of the 2009 Budget Implementation Act. The Senate recently posted the transcript online.

A fellow panellist was Michel Bédard, former Chief Actuary of the EI Fund. Last year, he and I appeared in the same panel before the same committee regarding the 2008 Budget Implementation Act. We both argued then that, if unemployment increased, the government’s quasi-reserve of $2 billion would quickly prove insufficient to maintain (let alone improve) EI benefits without hiking premiums.

Budget 2009 implicitly acknowledges that this concern was valid. Specifically, it suggests that a further $4.5 billion will be needed to freeze premiums for two years given higher unemployment.

This year, I focussed more on the urgent need to improve EI benefits than on financing issues. The discussion later turned to other matters of interest to Senators, including training and procurement policy.

UPDATE (April 29): I have some more EI commentary in today’s Toronto Star.

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