June 3, I asked the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion a very simple question:
“Mr. Chair, can the minister please tell us the current balance of the EI account?”
I ended up having to ask the Minister three times for an answer to this question.
The Minister promised, and I quote:
“out of respect for this House, I would prefer to give (the member) an accurate answer, which I promise to provide as soon as possible.”
That was in June and we are now in December and the Minister still has not answered this question.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) also took note of the Liberal government secrecy around the EI account and referenced this topic in last week’s PBO report, pointing out that there was no “outlook for the Employment Insurance Operating Account.”
The PBO has further stated:
"Given that forecasted EI expenses far exceed projected program revenues, the EI Operating Account is on track for a cumulative deficit of $52 billion by the end of 2024.”
Why does this matter?
By law, the EI premiums Canadians pay must cover the expenses of the Employment Insurance program.
If the expenses exceed the revenue, as is currently the case, the government must, within a seven-year time frame, recover the deficit of EI funds that have been paid out.
The PBO report points out:
“The government has not indicated in Fall Economic Statement 2020 (FES 2020), or elsewhere, whether it plans to address the projected shortfall in EI revenues through higher premium rates, reduced benefits or through payments from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”
This is a critically important question. It is very concerning that the Liberals have, for five months now, refused to disclose the current status of the EI account to Canadians.
Why the secrecy?
Canadian workers’ pay into the EI fund every pay period. The EI fund belong to workers and Canadians deserve a full accounting from the Trudeau Liberal government on the status of the EI account and if it is currently sustainable.
My question this week:
- Do you think the Trudeau Liberal government is serving the interests of Canadians well by withholding the EI account balance from you?
I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.