‘EI will be managed on a truly break-even basis’

Greg Weston questions the existence of the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board.

But in all three years the board has been in existence, the Harper government has simply capped EI rates to spare Canadian workers from potentially huge premium increases. As a result, the rate-setting agency has yet to set a single rate.

The board’s other main responsibility is to invest any surplus EI funds. That has never happened, either. Since the government started capping EI contribution rates, the employment insurance program has been running a deficit now totalling almost $9 billion.

The NDP is unimpressed. For the record, here is how Jim Flaherty explained the CEIFB in announcing its creation.

The employment insurance program is a safety net for struggling Canadian workers. To strengthen the EI account, our government is creating the Canada employment insurance financing board. Starting in 2009, this new, independent crown corporation will be responsible for implementing a new EI premium rate-setting mechanism and maintaining a cash reserve of $2 billion provided by the government. With this reform, Canadian workers and communities can be confident that EI will be managed on a truly break-even basis.

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