Finance minister expected to reduce 2012 EI hike by one-half

Announcement anticipated when Flaherty addresses business community in Calgary

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is expected to announce a reduction in the employment insurance (EI) hike planned for next year, according to media reports.

EI was expected to rise by 10 cents for employees and 14 cents for employers per $100 in payroll in 2012.

Now Flaherty is expected to announce a lower increase of five cents for employees and seven cents for employers, according to the Globe and Mail.

The announcement is expected to come this afternoon when Flaherty addresses the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

On Monday, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) announced more than 15,000 petitions had been signed by its members expressing concern with the government's plan to increase EI premiums.

“Given the ongoing economic uncertainty, now is not the time to be increasing EI premiums as it may end up deterring employers from hiring new employees," said Dan Kelly, CFIB senior vice-president of legislative affairs.

“A rate hike at this time will serve only to set back economic recovery and job creation. With Canada losing 54,000 full time jobs in the last month according to Statistics Canada data, the government should not be making it worse by increasing the cost of hiring.”

An increase in EI premiums in 2012 would be unfair, given employers and employees have overpaid more than $50 billion dollars in the EI account over the past 15 years, said the CFIB.

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