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THUNDER BAY, ON  ------   September 30, 2010  ----   As the biggest and most important businesses Harold Wilsonconstituency in the country, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its network across the country issued a resounding call to action in the wake of proposed changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program, and plans to increase EI premiums by the maximum allowed under federal legislation. The Voice of Business was heard loudly.

Last night, members of Parliament defeated Bill C-308 — a bill that would have added over $2 billion to the costs of the EI Program, increased work disincentives, hindered labour force mobility and constrained job creation. Today, the government announced it will be scaling back planned increases in EI premiums. For 2011, EI premiums will rise 5 cents per $100 in insurable earning for employees and 7 cents for employers instead of the maximum 15 cents and 21 cents, respectively. For 2012, premiums will be increased by 10 cents per $100 in insurable earnings for employees and 14 cents for employers instead of the maximum amount.

“As a result of this decision, Canada’s businesses will save over $640 million in 2011 and $320 million in 2012. A business with 100 employees will save as much as $6,100 next year and $3,100 in 2012. This is the right thing to do at the right time,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Gradual increases in EI premiums will give the Canadian economy traction. Over time, premium rates must be stabilized so that the EI program counteracts, or mitigates the negative effects of economic cycles. It is for this
reason that the Canadian Chamber is calling on the federal government to smooth out premium increases by amending the rate-setting formula with a view of balancing the EI Account over the business cycle of up to 10 years instead of year-by-year.

Harold Wilson, President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, commented, “We discussed the proposed EI increase at our September board meeting. It was also a subject of much conversation earlier this week at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM in Gatineau, Quebec, which Chair of the Board, Craig Urquhart and I attended. Success on reducing the planned EI increase indicates that together we can make it happen. We thank our dedicated national chamber network for their ongoing support and efforts”.


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