Government of Canada’s Employment Insurance Reform

February 8, 2022

The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce (SCC) participated in the federal government’s virtual roundtable consultation on Building a Modern Employment Insurance (EI) Program for Saskatchewan in early February, 2022. The discussion focused on entrance requirements, EI simplification, access issues for self-employed workers, and seasonal workers. More details can be found on the Government of Canada’s Reforming Canada’s Employment Insurance program backgrounder.

The federal government has stated that increased accessibility is a target of this modernisation. Through the consultation, the SCC stressed that it is important to remember that EI must be paid for and, ultimately, it is an expensive tax to employers. The SCC urged the federal government to conduct a detailed cost analysis to determine what the actual impact of any proposed changes will be on premiums, especially as the EI account is already projected to be $29 billion in debt in 2022.

The EI program plays an important role, one that was notably evident during the pandemic, but many businesses are still struggling to recover from the last couple years, particularly those in the hardest hit sectors. Piling on more cost given the current environment is insensitive and adds burden at a time when many are on the verge of permanently closing, which the SCC emphasised during the consultation.

The EI reform process will take time and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce looks forward to representing our members in the next phases.

For more information or to provide comment, please contact Mykensie Kendrick: mkendrick@saskchamber.com.