• Call on Government to Not Increase EI Rates 10/12/2023

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    October 12, 2023
    The Canada Employment Insurance Commission Actuarial Report calls for an increase to EI rates in 2024.  The Fort Nelson Chamber has sent the following letter to government

    For a copy of the letter click here

    Canada Employment Insurance Commission Actuarial Report & 2024 Increase to EI
    Dear Minister Boissonnault,
    We are writing today on behalf of the Fort Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce regarding the above noted increase to the 2024 EI premium rate.   
    Fort Nelson is the administrative centre of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality in the top NE corner of BC.  We are located in the traditional territory of the Dene, Cree, and Dunne Tsaa peoples of the Fort Nelson and Prophet River First Nations.
    It was with dismay that we read the announcement regarding the increase to 2024 Employment Insurance (EI) rates.  Following directly on the heels of the Prime Minister and Finance Minister’s recognition of the struggles facing Canadians and Canadian businesses it illustrates the disconnect within branches of government and a lack of understanding of the challenges facing Canadian business.   
    Business is struggling to survive and the economy is on the verge of a recession.  Every day Canadians struggle with higher costs including basic requirements such as food and housing along with higher interest rates compounding debt for both individuals and business.  This is akin to government giving with one hand while taking a larger portion of the pie with the other.   
    The programs, grants and other benefits put in place during the pandemic were to help Canadians and Canadian business survive what was a national health crisis.  Employers did not initiate lay-offs in the normal course of business but rather due to government imposed shutdowns.  We understood the need to protect public health however were repeatedly assured that the benefits and temporary measures would not become an additional burden on business or individuals.  We trusted government to honour promises that the increase in costs from the temporary measures would not be borne by the El account but rather be paid with general revenues.   
    Now government is calling on workers, but more significantly employers to pay off this debt.  Employers pay 1.4 times what employees pay in premiums.  Employers therefore will pay off 58% of the debt that has accumulated in the El account. 
    On behalf of business in the Northern Rockies and across the country we urgently request that you invoke Section 66.32 (1) of the Employment Insurance Act and substitute the rate as set by the Canada Employment Insurance Commission which was based on the Actuarial Report. 
    The Employment Insurance premium rate for 2024 will increase from $1.63 per $100 to $1.66 unless cabinet intervenes.  Cabinet has the right to change the rate if it is in the public's interest. 
    This increase is not needed for the operations of the Employment Insurance program.  The sole reason for the rate increase is to pay down the debt that accumulated because of the temporary measures implemented during the pandemic which was wholly outside of businesses control therefore the measures taken to address it should come from general revenues and not on the backs of Canadians and businesses.   
    The health of the country is a direct function of the health of the businesses that operate within it.  We appeal to you to not inflict any further burden on our nations job creators and their employees.  Pay the debt that has accumulated in the El account out of general revenues, as promised, and reduce the El premium accordingly.