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Apr 16, 2012

New Study Recommends an Efficient and Cost-Effective Program to Improve Income Security for the Unemployed

April 16, 2012

The Mowat Centre proposes a new, federal Temporary Unemployment Assistance (TUA) program.

Toronto – A new report from the Mowat Centre at the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto makes the case for a significant adjustment to how the federal government supports the unemployed. The report – Workers Left Outside the EI Umbrella: Explanations and a Simple Solution – suggests a Temporary Unemployment Assistance (TUA) program to plug some of the gaps left by the federal Employment Insurance (EI) system.

“Canada’s signature and only federal social support program for the unemployed has not kept up with fundamental changes to the Canadian labour market. The program is failing as an automatic stabilizer, it is failing to protect most workers against the risk of unemployment, and it is failing to treat workers equally across regions, communities, and sectors”, says Matthew Mendelsohn, Director of the Mowat Centre.

This paper makes the case for Temporary Unemployment Assistance (TUA), a repayable form of federal support for unemployed workers.TUA would be easily available for short periods of time. It would have no asset test and no up-front income test, making it flexible and responsive.

TUA would increase federal income support for unemployed workers who are currently excluded from or cannot access the EI program. It would be targeted particularly at non-standard workers, new labour force entrants, and EI exhaustees who need more time finding work.

TUA, he says, would begin to reduce the regional disparities and the urban-rural divide that define many aspects of Canada’s approach to supporting the unemployed.

“Reforming EI so that it is fairer and more responsive to the modern labour market should be a federal priority. Implementing TUA is part of the overall reform package.”

The new study is a follow up to the Mowat Centre’s larger EI Task Force, which released its recommendations in November 2011.

Read the full report