January 8th 2013
MP Ed Holder, London West
MP Susan Truppe, London North Centre
MP Joe Preston, Elgin-Middlesex-London
Dear Members of Parliament.
Re: Changes to EI Program
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the London Chamber of Commerce, we applaud recent efforts to reform the EI program under the Canada Action Plan. As you may know the London Chamber has been an active and vocal advocate for many of these changes but in our view, these changes are not enough. Employers in our region in particular will be hit with Employment Insurance premium rate increases in 2013. This, in light of the ongoing economic struggles all of our companies in this region are still experiencing.
Over the last 10 years, London employers as well as those across Ontario have paid $20 billion dollars more into the program than they have received in return. Employers, who have paid the bulk of this bill, are effectively subsidizing workers and businesses in other regions of the country.
Training programs that are funded by employer premiums short change Ontario to the tune of $269 million every year. If Ontario received its fair share of these dollars, it could double the Second Career program, which helps individuals train for a new career. Meanwhile, many Ontario employers are having trouble finding workers with the right skills.
A recent report makes several recommendations to fix the EI program so that it works for all Canadians, including those among us who work and do business in Ontario. They include:
- Reforming EI so that there is one national standard for qualification and one benefit formula for all Canadians.
- Funding all federal training and active employment measures through a single, general revenue-funded transfer to the provinces/territories.
- Allocating funding for federal skills and training on the basis of the number of unemployed.
We would respectfully ask that you share our concerns with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet so that your constituents and our members have the best possible chance to come out of this lengthy economic downturn as quickly as possible and once again return to a more stable and vibrant contributor to the national economy.
Thank you. I wish you all the best in the New Year.
Gerry Macartney, CEO