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  • Charting a path to $15/hour for all BC workers November 22, 2017
    In our submission to the BC Fair Wages Commission, the CCPA-BC highlighted the urgency for British Columbia to adopt a $15 minimum wage by March 2019. Read the submission. BC’s current minimum wage is a poverty-level wage. Low-wage workers need a significant boost to their income and they have been waiting a long time. Over 400,000 […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA-BC joins community, First Nation, environmental groups in call for public inquiry into fracking November 5, 2017
    Today the CCPA's BC Office joined with 16 other community, First Nation and environmental organizations to call for a full public inquiry into fracking in Britsh Columbia. The call on the new BC government is to broaden a promise first made by the NDP during the lead-up to the spring provincial election, and comes on […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Income gap persists for racialized people, recent immigrants, Indigenous people in Canada October 27, 2017
    In the Toronto Star, CCPA-Ontario senior economist Sheila Block digs into the latest Census release to reveal the persistent income gap between racialized people, recent immigrants, Indigenous people, and the rest of Canada.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA in Europe for CETA speaking tour October 17, 2017
    On September 21, Canada and the European Union announced that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial NAFTA-plus free trade deal initiated by the Harper government and signed by Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016, was now provisionally in force. In Europe, however, more than 20 countries have yet to officially ratify the deal, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Twelve year study of an inner-city neighbourhood October 12, 2017
    What does twelve years of community organizing look like for a North End Winnipeg neighbourhood?  Jessica Leigh survey's those years with the Dufferin community from a community development lens.  Read full report.
    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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