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  • Could skyrocketing private sector debt spell economic crisis? June 21, 2017
    Our latest report finds that Canada is racking up private sector debt faster than any other advanced economy in the world, putting the country at risk of serious economic consequences. The report, Addicted to Debt, reveals that Canada has added $1 trillion in private sector debt over the past five years, with the corporate sector […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Betting on Bitumen: Alberta's energy policies from Lougheed to Klein June 8, 2017
    The role of government in Alberta, both involvement and funding, has been critical in ensuring that more than narrow corporate interests were served in the development of the province’s bitumen resources.  A new report contrasts the approaches taken by two former premiers during the industry’s early development and rapid expansion periods.  The Lougheed government invested […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Canada-China FTA will leave workers worse off June 2, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is currently consulting Canadians on a possible Canada-China free trade agreement. In CCPA’s submission to this process, CCPA senior researcher Scott Sinclair argues that an FTA based on Canada’s standard template would almost certainly reinforce rather than improve upon Canada’s imbalanced and deleterious trade with China. It can also be expected to […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Faulty assumptions about pipelines and tidewater access May 30, 2017
    The federal and Alberta governments and the oil industry argue that pipelines to tidewater will unlock new markets where Canadian oil can command a better price than in the US, where the majority of Canadian oil is currently exported. Both governments have approved Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, but a new report finds that […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Weathering the storm: is this the end of CRA’s political activities audits? May 5, 2017
    Yesterday, following a panel’s recommendation to allow charities more freedom to speak out, the federal government decided to suspend the Canada Revenue Agency’s controversial political activities audit program. Indeed this is good news for Canadian charities. Everyone at the CCPA is proud of the role our organization has played in challenging these audits and in […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

The Budget, Stimulus, and E.I.

A coalition of community and labour organizations have come together to present their views on necessary EI reforms as part of the pre-budget process.

Joint Community and Labour Statement on the 2016 Budget, Stimulus, and E.I.

We urge the government to act quickly and decisively to restore the integrity of Canada’s EI social insurance system.

In particular, it is vital that the 2016 Budget provide economic stimulus and be at the ready as the country prepares for difficult economic storms. As an earlier federal study found, EI is the single most powerful automatic stabilizer reducing both GDP and job losses by up to 14% during recessions. Much of that earlier capacity has been lost with only 40% of the unemployed now receiving EI benefits after years of repeated cutbacks.

We recommend the government delay any decision on premium changes and immediately begin the job of making much-needed improvements to EI. All are long overdue but will now also serve as strong economic stimulus in the 2016 Budget:

1. Repeal the 2012/13 EI changes. This includes but is not limited to the punitive and discriminatory job search rules, a detrimental best weeks calculation for low income workers, removal of the extended benefit pilot project, erosion of the working while on claim benefit for those taking casual work while unemployed, and the politically-motivated addition of new EI regions in Prince Edward Island and Canada’s North.

2. Move up EI improvements. This includes the promised 1-week waiting period and reforms to the EI Hours System that will expand access and restore reasonable benefit durations. The elimination of the 910-hour rule for new immigrants, young workers, and parents re-entering the labour force is an important down payment. But other reforms are urgently needed. EI must be allowed to do the job it’s supposed to do in a labour market overflowing with precarious, temporary and part-time jobs and now facing a downturn.

3. Immediately address rampant problems with EI service delivery and appeals. Staffing levels and in-person services have seriously declined, discouraging workers from pursuing a benefit claim. The appeal system is also suffering with the Social Security Tribunal that was introduced with the 2012 changes; the model requires fundamental reforms and restoration of the business-labour role.

4. Ensure there is an independent EI Account and that EI contributions are used exclusively to fund EI programs. This includes the projected 2016 surplus, which should be used to pay for the highlighted improvements.

On behalf of the Inter-provincial E.I. Working Group:

Unemployed Workers Help Centres, Saskatchewan

Alberta Federation of Labour

Community Unemployed Help Centre, Winnipeg

Good Jobs for All Coalition, Toronto

Canadian Labour Congress

Coalition de l’Est du Québec

Federation des travailleurs et des travailleuses du Quebec

Mouvement autonome et solidaire des sans-emploi (MASSE)

Confederation des syndicats nationaux

Centrale des syndicats du Québec

Centrale des syndicats democratiques

Public Sector Alliance of Canada – Atlantic

Nova Scotia Federation of Labour

New Brunswick Coalition Against EI Cuts

Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour

PEI Coalition for Fair EI

… and others.

 

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