EI Ac­count shorted $13 bil­lion

The Southern Gazette - - NEWS -

Ed­i­tor;

The Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance Ac­count ended the 2007-2008 fis­cal year with a $56,952,606,000 (bil­lion) sur­plus.

$2 bil­lion was es­tab­lished ‘as a con­tin­gency fund that will sup­port rel­a­tive pre­mium rate sta­bil­ity’. When a new sys­tem be­came law, ‘a con­tin­gency re­serve of $10-$15 bil­lion’ called for by the Cana­dian In­sti­tute of Ac­tu­ar­ies but not en­acted.

Min­is­ter of Hu­man Re­sources and Skills De­vel­op­ment Diane Fin­ley said Lib­eral leader Michael Ig­nati­eff’s plan for em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance is “ir­re­spon­si­ble be­cause it would only re­sult in huge in­creases in pay­roll taxes,” and “they have worked hard to get EI ben­e­fits to this point and will con­tinue to do what­ever they can.”

She added “That pay­roll tax in­crease would kill jobs and small busi­ness.”

There will be an in­crease in EI spending this year. Had Fla­herty and Fin­ley fol­lowed ad­vice given them by the for­mer Chief Ac­tu­ary of the EI pro­gram, by the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral of Canada and by the Cana­dian In­sti­tute of Ac­tu­ar­ies, there would have been an ad­e­quate con­tin­gency fund set aside for re­ces­sion rather than threats of job threat­en­ing tax in­creases.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled the gov­ern­ment could do what it willed with the E.I. pay­roll taxes paid by both em­ploy­ees and em­ploy­ers. It is un­for­tu­nate, now that the re­ces­sion has struck, they were, for what­ever rea­sons they had, $8-13 bil­lion short in plan­ning for the in­evitable.

Joe Hueglin, Ni­a­gara Falls, On­tario

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