Documents show Liberals warned of political perils from launching EI review


OTTAWA — Newly released documents show the Liberals were warned on the eve of an election year about the political consequences of fulfilling a four-year-old campaign promise to review the employment insurance system.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had asked one of his senior ministers to conduct a sweeping review of the social safety net program to come up with ways to adapt EI to changing labour force demands.

The program hasn’t had a review in more than two decades, during which time it has become more complex while the number of people qualifying for benefits has dropped.

Documents provided to Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos late last year warned about how a detailed review could up the pressure on the Liberals to enact very costly changes to the program.

In the documents, dated from December and obtained by The Canadian Press, officials wrote that reconciling and managing conflicting priorities from stakeholder groups would be challenging.

Although the Liberals didn’t launch a review as promised, Duclos’ office says the government is always looking for ways to improve the EI system.