November 14, 2008

Archived - Government of Canada Holds Employment Insurance Premium Rate at Lowest Level in 15 Years

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today welcomed the Canada Employment Insurance Commission’s decision to hold the Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate for 2009 unchanged at $1.73, its lowest level in 15 years.

"Given the current challenges posed by global economic instability, Canadian workers and businesses appreciate that now is not the time for raising premium rates," said Minister Flaherty. "Rather, it is time to secure Canada’s economy against recent global headwinds, as our Government has already done with $21 billion in incremental tax relief this year."

In considering the rate decision, Minister Finley said: "Our Government will ensure that the program continues to be there for Canadian workers when they need it. We will also act on our commitment to improve the governance and management of the EI Account."

The Chief Actuary has calculated the maximum insurable earnings (MIE) for 2009 as being $42,300, up from $41,100 in 2008. The MIE is the income level up to which earnings are insured and on which premiums are paid by employees and employers. This in turn determines the maximum weekly EI benefits. The MIE is calculated according to a formula set out in the Employment Insurance Act that indexes the MIE to growth in the average industrial wage.

Employers pay 1.4 times the employee rate.

The 2009 EI premium rate for Quebec will be $1.38. This is lower than in the rest of Canada because Quebec finances its own parental benefits.

To learn more about the EI program, please visit the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website at

For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
David Gamble
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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