(Sept. 16/16) Employment insurance (EI) premium rates for 2017 have been announced:

  • The EI premium rate for employees will be $1.63, down from $1.88 in 2016. This rate is two cents lower than the federal government’s election commitment, but two cents higher than the current break-even point for the program.
  • Employer premiums will drop from $2.63 to $2.28 per $100 of payroll (as the employer’s rate is 1.4 times the employee rate).
  • The maximum insurable earnings will increase from $50,300 in 2016 to $51,800.

The government is moving back to a seven-year break-even mechanism so the revenues through premiums are balanced against projected program costs during this time. It has also returned EI premium rate setting to the Canada Employment Insurance Commission.

Projected costs include program enrichments from the 2016 budget, such as:

  • greater access for new entrants and re-entrants to the labour force; and
  • a reduced waiting period for benefits from two weeks to one week.

Our recommendations
Restaurants Canada has expressed disappointment that an election promise of a premium holiday for new youth hires was not upheld. We’ve asked the government to introduce a year’s basic exemption (YBE) in the EI program, similar to the YBE in the CPP program to preserve and grow youth jobs.  See our youth jobs issue sheet. (Login required)


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