The federal Employment Insurance (EI) program plays favorites among Canada’s regions and sustains costly, long-lasting pockets of high unemployment, say the authors of a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Mending Canada’s Employment Insurance Quilt: The Case for Restoring Equity,” Senior Policy Analyst Colin Busby and Professor David Gray say the EI program should be simplified, with nation-wide standards for the number of hours of work needed to qualify for benefits, and for how long benefits should be received.
“The last recession made the inequity of the current regime glaringly obvious,” according to David Gray, Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa, “with the unemployed in Ontario’s hard-hit manufacturing sector facing longer qualifying times and getting skimpier benefits than laid-off workers in other regions. Reform is overdue.”