The federal Liberals are promising cuts to employment insurance premiums, but those cuts won’t go as deep as reductions already promised by the Conservatives.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is campaigning in Atlantic Canada today where changes to employment insurance and their impact on seasonal workers have become an election issue.
The Liberals say if they form a government in the Oct. 19 election, they would reduce EI premiums from $1.88 per $100 earned to $1.65 starting in 2017.
In their 2015 budget, the Conservatives projected premiums would fall to $1.49 by 2017. Liberals say their plan would result in an extra $2 billion per year in revenue for the government, though Trudeau said this does not amount to a tax hike in disguise.
“We will also be investing in the program with the money people are paying in, so that they have better benefits,” the Liberal leader said at a campaign stop in Bouctouche, N.B.
“Our plan is completely balanced and we will be able to do everything we’re announcing today while at the same time cutting EI premiums for workers across the country.”
The Liberals are also pledging to reduce the waiting time for people who apply for EI from two weeks to one week and to scrap a rule that requires anyone entering or re-entering the workforce to work a minimum of 910 hours before they are eligible for EI.
Trudeau promised to repeal EI reforms brought in by the Conservatives, which critics have said make it more difficult for unemployed workers to claim benefits. He also pledged an extra $500 million per year for skills training.