Changes to Employment Insurance Program Announced for 2018

The federal government recently announced a new Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate amount as well as some new investment changes to the program that will provide a greater benefit to Canadians.

The new rate for 2018 for employees is $1.66 for $100.00 of insured earnings which equates to an increase of $0.03 while the employer rate will increase to $0.04.  While this is a slight increase for 2018, it still represents a reduction of $0.22 from the 2016 rate of $1.88.  It is also lower than the projected rate of $1.68 per $100.00 of insurable earnings that was included in Budget 2017.  The Canada Employment Insurance Commission has stated that this is a “clear reflection of the strength of the economy, and a sign that the government’s plan to grow the economy, create jobs and strengthen the middle class is working.”

One of the new investment changes is that the waiting period for EI benefits has been reduced from two weeks to one week. It has been set at two weeks since 1971 and shortening the waiting period is expected to ease the financial strain on EI claimants and is estimated to give an additional $650 million to Canadians annually beginning next year, for those who do not exhaust their maximum entitlement to benefits.

Additionally, the commission announced that there will be an extension to the parental benefit period of up to 18 months which would give more flexibility to working parents.  EI benefits will expand to incorporate a new care giver benefit for critically ill adults as well as broaden eligibility for EI funded skills training programs and employment support.  This will provide Canadians more opportunities to upgrade their skills, gain experience or obtain help to start their own business.

Jennifer Roche / Payroll Specialist / PEO Canada

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