Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

May 13, 2008 07:30 ET

Media Advisory/REMINDER: $54 Billion Employment Insurance Surplus Belongs to Unemployed Workers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 13, 2008) - Barbara Byers, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress will be available to the media at the Supreme Court of Canada, Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.

Byers will be there as the country's highest court of justice hears arguments from the Canadian Labour Congress about the fate of the $54 billion Employment Insurance surplus.

"We believe that the federal government exceeded its constitutional authority and acted illegally when it accumulated an Employment Insurance Fund surplus of $54 Billion and used that surplus for purposes other than the interests of unemployed workers," Byers states.

"Had they been consulted, Canadians would have rejected a decade-long policy of taking money from unemployed workers to pay for deficit and debt reduction and for tax cuts for the rich," Byers explains. "That policy is not only immoral and wrong, we argue in court that it is against the constitution."

Last week, the Canadian Labour Congress was also arguing in Parliamentary hearings on the Budget Implementation Bill that MPs can't just ignore the EI surplus when it comes to setting EI rates and benefits. Yet the proposed new EI Financing Board is instructed to ignore the past surplus.

"Any new EI Fund should be fully backstopped by the accumulated surplus, so that benefits can be improved, and so that premiums do not have to be increased if our economy falls into recession," Byers explains.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Web site:

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Jean Wolff