Monday, May 25, 2009

Ignatieff proposes unraveling of 1996 EI reforms

Michael Ignatieff's call for a loosening of federal Employment Insurance eligibility requirements is a remarkable policy reversal for the Federal Liberals.

This is the first serious policy proposal from Ignatieff that is clearly and demonstrably wrong. For supporting argument, see all the Finance Canada research from the mid-90s on the subject of EI reform. As Finn Poschmann and William Robson at the CD Howe Institute noted in 2006, "payments to workers who routinely work less than a full year are undermining a decade-old effort to remake EI as an insurance backstop against unexpected and temporary unemployment" [as opposed to supplementing regular income]. The government's own EI Monitoring and Assessment Report asserted in 2005 that while "we can conclude that the 1996 reform led to significant savings amounting to billions of dollars ... certain elements of the reform have been undone" (Canada Employment Insurance Commission, 93).

Apparently it falls to Iggy to complete the unraveling of those hard-won reforms.

No comments: