Chartered Professional Accountants

2016 Federal Budget Highlights – Changes to the EI Program/ Old Age Security /Canada Student Grants

Here are some of the proposed changes to the following programs that may be of interest to you.

Employment Insurance (EI) Improvements

Budget 2016 proposes many changes to the EI rules, including the following:

  • elimination of the higher eligibility requirements for new entrants and re-entrants to the labour market – effective July 2016, they will be subject to the same requirements as any other employee in the same region;
  • effective January 1, 2017, the EI waiting period will be reduced from 2 weeks to 1 week;
  • extension until August 2018, of the “Working While on Claim” pilot project, which permits workers to keep 50 cents of EI benefits for every dollar earned, up to a maximum of 90% of the weekly insurable earnings used to compute their benefits;
  • reversal of changes in 2012 which required workers to accept work with lower pay rates and/or longer commute;
  • extension of regular benefits by five weeks, to a maximum of 50 weeks, for claimants in twelve regions which have experienced the most severe increases in unemployment (Newfoundland/ Labrador, Sudbury, Northern Ontario, Northern Manitoba, Saskatoon, Northern Saskatchewan, Calgary, Northern Alberta, Southern Alberta, Northern British Columbia, Whitehorse, and Nunavut), with a further 20 weeks for long-tenured workers. These changes are effective July 2016 with the measure being retroactively applied to eligible claims back to January 4, 2015; and,
  • extension of the maximum duration of Work-Sharing Agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.

In addition, funds will be allocated to cope with the increase in claims, both to speed processing and improve access to EI Call Centres.

Finally, the Budget noted a $21 million investment over three years to promote compliance with program rules, and a commitment to further improvements, including easier access to Compassionate Care benefits, provision of care to seriously ill family members and greater flexibility in parental leave benefits.

Old Age Security (OAS)

Budget 2016 proposes to allow all Canadians to commence receiving OAS at age 65, reversing legislation that would have increased the age of eligibility to 67. The Guaranteed Income Supplement for low income seniors will be enhanced, with the lowest-income seniors receiving an additional $947 annually.

Canada Student Grants

Budget 2016 proposes to increase grant amounts by 50% for low-income, middle-income, and part-time students.

If you want to know how the changes may affect you personally, please contact our office to speak with one of our professionals today.

The preceding information is for educational purposes only. As it is impossible to include all situations, circumstances and exceptions in a post such as this, a further review should be done by a qualified professional.

No individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.



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