1. What Should the Objectives of the EI Program Be?
The design of a support program for the unemployed requires reconciling a number of objectives. The Mowat Centre Employment Insurance Task Force identified eight objectives for the EI program against which the program—and reform proposals—should be judged. The EI program should:
- Provide adequate support in times of need
- Encourage people to work by facilitating efficient labour market decision-making
- Treat workers and employers fairly
- Be integrated and coherent with other income support programs
- Support the development of human capital
- Contribute to Canadian prosperity
- Be fiscally responsible
- Be responsive to the business cycle and shifts in employment
People have different ideas about the relative importance of these objectives. But, a broad base is needed if our recommendations on EI reform are to be successful. We strove to balance these objectives in our recommendations, even when there were built in tensions between them (for example, adequate support versus fiscal responsibility).