April 14, 2011
Canada’s EI System Compared
Many aspects of the Employment Insurance system in Canada are controversial, but perhaps its most controversial element is the regional differentiation that characterizes access to, length of and size of benefits. This Mowat Note looks to 17 other OECD countries, including all eight OECD federations, to see how they address this thorny issue.
The evidence highlights that Canada is an extreme outlier. While other countries provide workers the same benefits regardless of where they live, Canada is unique in modifying benefits on the basis of region of residence.
Many of Canada’s social programs treat all Canadians equally, but the Employment Insurance system is not a neutral social benefit for workers; it retains within its design a legacy as a program of regional support and economic development.View PDF