Statement From Minister Dwight Duncan On Finance Ministers' Meeting
The federal-provincial-territorial Finance Ministers' meeting to be held on Monday, May 25, 2009 in Meech Lake, Quebec is an opportunity for the McGuinty government to bring forward Ontario's concerns. During these challenging times, governments need to work together to help all of Canada emerge stronger from this global economic crisis.
At Monday's meeting, I will continue to press for reform on Employment Insurance (EI). While the federal government's recent move to extend EI payments is an important step forward to helping families now, we need immediate changes to the EI system so that Ontario workers are provided with their fair share of payments.
The average unemployed Ontarian still receives $4,600 less in EI benefits than unemployed Canadians in other provinces. Almost 70 per cent of unemployed Ontarians do not receive
EI total regular benefits, primarily because the program is not designed to meet the changing needs of Ontario's labour force.
Another concern that has been highlighted during this global recession is whether the right policies are in place to help Canadians prepare for their retirements in the future. Pension coverage is a complex issue that is not only a question for Ontario, but also for the federal government and other provinces and territories.
There needs to be an immediate broader dialogue about pensions that includes pension coverage and the adequacy of retirement incomes. Premier McGuinty has called on Prime Minister Harper to begin a national discussion on these issues, including a national summit on pensions. I look forward to having a meaningful dialogue on pensions at Monday's meeting.
During these challenging economic times, it is especially important that Ontario's concerns are heard and addressed to achieve our common goals for Canada.