The Conservative government is going to do something which has not been done in 16 years, raise EI premiums. The EI premiums have been frozen largely due to the fact the EI Fund has a surplus, today that surplus is about 57 billion. It is a paper surplus however as government has spent the money elsewhere. Still it is money employees and employers have paid in.
The money in the system has grown in part due to big cuts to benefits. First the Mulroney government cut payments to workers and made it harder to qualify, then they Liberals under Paul Martin as finance minister increased the qualifying period and cut benefits again.
The Conservatives said they would create an agency to determine premiums. They did that but have failed to provide the funds required and or owed to the EI Fund.
With a $57 billion surplus, the EI bill that the Conservatives and Liberals defeated yesterday could have funded increased benefits and reduced qualifying times and had the funds to do so for a minimum of eight years.