The 2009 Federal Budget will be delivered in less than three weeks. There were "online consultations" and Minister Flaherty and his team continue their community roundtables. Like many, we have given serious consideration to what we would like to see in the next budget. In a letter to Minister Flaherty in December we called for "a visionary stimulus package" with a federal poverty reduction strategy at its core. We have consistently pressed that EI reform, to give access to people engaged in precarious or non‐traditional employment, be included in this strategy. As we enter a recession, the reform of Employment Insurance is more crucial than ever.
A couple of days after our letter was sent, Chandra posted Now is the time to reform EI on her blog. In it she referenced reports in the Globe and Mail, as well as Carol Goar's column in the Toronto Star. In Goar's article today, she presents some of the key challenges facing the Employment Insurance program in Canada and how it came to be what it is: a badly broken economic stabilizer. She points out that of the "200,000 Canadians [that] will lose their jobs this year... just 82,000 will actually receive them." As a first step in repairing EI, Goar states that the federal government needs to once again become a contributor to the program. I look forward to hearing what else she has to say about how it can be fixed – and to seeing whether anyone in Ottawa is listening.
Karri is CPJ's Socio-Economic Policy Analyst
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