The EI algebra

While the opposition continues to press Diane Finley about a problem with the Harper government’s changes to employment insurance, Ms. Finley’s office seems to be struggling to explain itself.

Opposition parties are accusing the government of clawing back more money from the poorest of Canadians with its recent chang­es to EI. But Diane Finley, human re­sources and skills development minister, countered that saying the “vast majority” of EI claimants are better off under her department’s new clawback system.

The Chronicle Herald attemp­ted to verify her claim, asking the department last Thursday for the average dollar amount earned by part-time workers receiving EI, as well as the dollar value of the average clawback under the previous system. The department responded Monday, saying it does not have the data to answer either ques­tion. The lack of data raises ques­tions about how Finley could say the “vast majority” of EI claimants will make more money under the new system.