EI Training and the Federal Budget
Here’s a perhaps rather obvious thought prompted by reading an outline of the next OECD Employment Outlook. In a period of high and likely prolonged unemployment, governments should increase their investment in training of the unemployed by an amount at least in line with the increase in unemployment.
Budget 2009 fails that test. Spending on training under Part II of the EI Act – which is transferred to the provinces to support training for current and recent EI recipients – was increased by $500 Million per year on top of a base annual budget of $1.95 Billion, or by about 26%.
As of January, 2009, the number of regular EI recipients was already up by 23% from February, 2008. Thus we have already just about reached the stage where the increased training allocation matches the increase in EI recipients … and the recession has just begun.
Based on the TD Bank projection that we will hit a 10% unemployment rate by the end of the year, the number of unemployed workers will be up by about two-thirds from lows in 2008.
From this point on, investment in training per unemployed worker seems set to fall.