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Mar 17, 2010

Mowat Centre Launches Task Force on Employment Insurance

March 17, 2010

Year-long Task Force to issue final report in fall 2011.

 Toronto – The Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation at the University of Toronto announces the formation of a Task Force on Modernizing Employment Insurance.  The Task Force will bring together a wide cross-section of Canadian leaders and researchers to propose a new, modern support system for the unemployed that works for Canada and responds to the challenges confronting our economy.

 “There is widespread agreement that our system of support for unemployed Canadians needs to be improved.  We need a new system that will renew the safety net that Canadians count on,” says Mowat Centre Director Matthew Mendelsohn.

“Leaders from across Canada agree that the current system undermines productivity and is unfair to many workers.  Successive federal governments, for a variety of reasons, have been unable to fix the system.  It is time for a non-partisan, public effort to push forward,” he adds.

The aim of the Task Force will be to develop a national consensus on a modernized system that will allow the federal government to act.

Roy Romanow, former Premier of Saskatchewan and Commissioner of the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada and Ratna Omidvar, President of the Maytree Foundation, are Co-Chairing the Advisory Committee of the Task Force, which is currently being established with representation from across Canada.

One of Canada’s leading scholars of social policy, Keith Banting of Queen’s University, will serve as Research Director for the Task Force.

“We need a renewed national program for the unemployed that works for Canadians across the country and strengthens our social safety net,” says Roy Romanow.

Ratna Omidvar adds that “the Employment Insurance program in its current state has not kept pace with the realities and needs of the modern labour market and the changing face of Canada’s workforce.”

The Task Force has released a call for papers, with a proposal deadline of April 14, 2010 and will be holding a series of public consultations across Canada throughout the year. A research conference is planned for the fall of 2010, and the final report will be released in the fall of 2011.

Read the full report