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June 8, 2020 – Better data is required to make informed decisions about an income support transition model, says the C.D. Howe Institute’s Crisis Working Group on Household Income and Credit Support.

At their recent meeting, working group members discussed options for providing continued income support to Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) recipients who, after exhausting their maximum eligibility period, may remain unemployed and without access to Employment Insurance (EI). The group also explored a solution for getting real-time pay information to tackle the administrative challenge of using income-tested support programs, and discussed the potential impact of working from home on young employees and the gender wage gap.

The group recommends:

  • Building longer-term income supports onto existing systems, such as EI, while strengthening and expanding these systems to support larger numbers of Canadians through the recovery;   
  • Depending on the number of CERB recipients ineligible for EI and the right assumptions surrounding the re-opening of the economy, the government should consider:
    • Extending the CERB but introducing new phase-out modifications learned from the international experiences of EI’s Working While on Claim (WWOC) feature; or
    • Expanding the EI program by reforming eligibility criteria to take on the role of the CERB.
  • Leveraging the Human Capital Management industry for access to accurate and timely pay data to support the administration of support programs; and
  • Considering hybrid and more flexible work arrangements to better balance the needs of employees with the needs of employers and to potentially improve the gender wage gap.  

The group of economists and business leaders is co-chaired by Michael Horgan, Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones LLP and former Deputy Minister of Finance, Government of Canada; and Kathleen Taylor, Chair of the Board at Royal Bank of Canada.

For more information, please contact: Parisa Mahboubi, Senior Policy Analyst, C.D. Howe Institute; or Nancy Schlömer, Communications Officer, C.D. Howe Institute, phone 416-865-1904 ext. 0247, email: nschlomer@cdhowe.org

Full Communiqué: Final HH CWGR_2020_0608.pdf