The employment insurance (EI) program has long been characterized by systemic inequities and regional political considerations, according to a report released by the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto.
Making It Work: Final Recommendations of the Mowat Centre Employment Insurance Task Force, contains 18 recommendations around four themes: a nationally standardized system for determining qualification and benefits, active employment measures, special benefits and financing and management.
EI is the only major federal social program that bases benefits on where you live, said Matthew Mendelsohn, director of the Mowat Centre.
“We need a program that treats all Canadians equitably regardless of where they live, just like other signature programs that form the foundation of the Canadian national social safety net,” he said.
The recommendations are governed by three main principles: unemployment assistance must be accessible when it is needed, the program should encourage people to stay in the labour market and it must treat everyone equitably.
Roy Romanow, co-chair of the task force advisory committee, said he believes the recommendations provide an opportunity to modernize and strengthen a key federal social program in a fiscally responsible way.
“We have an opportunity to modernize the program so that it works across the country,” he said.
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