CBC is running a story about the case brought to the Supreme Court by Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), a labour union that is fighting against the misappropriation of Employment Insurance funds by the federal government. The problem stems from the EI surplus being reverted into general revenue and used for debt reduction and other administrative costs. The union says that this is an indirect tax and therefore unconstitutional.
When you pay in to EI do you expect to see any of it back unless you make a claim? Should we be refunded individually when there is a huge ($55 million since 1996) surplus? I was on EI for a grand total of 1 and a half months. It was great but I knew it wasn't going to last, nor did I want it to last. I didn't expect to receive any benefits beyond what I had paid in to the system to that point. The EI contributions I had made and continue to make are mine, the government is merely holding it for me. I do not expect my EI contributions to go towards debt reduction, because my income taxes are supposed to be paying that.
If the government insists on holding on to the EI surplus the money must be spent on EI and employment related ventures, even better it could be used to lower Student Debt because I will bet that many students are going to pay in to EI for a good, long time. An EVEN BETTER idea is to use some of that surplus for pay equity. Women still make much less than men while working jobs of equal value, take the surplus and use it to compensate women who are being unfairly discriminated against. Why should Sanitation workers make more than child care workers? There are many better ways to spend that surplus if the government doesn't want to give it back but they have no right to spend it on themselves.