For a decade the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies has examined such issues as Canada’s system of employment insurance (EI) and transfer payments (equalization). Its work on these public policy issues has generated much debate, many news articles, and multiple supporters and detractors. But in Canada’s highest echelon’s of journalism, writers turn to AIMS’ work for validation.

In an editorial, The Globe and Mail picked up on a persistent message from AIMS that the Employment Insurance program needs revamping. It refers to AIMS’ work and concludes a little tweaking just won’t solve the problems of the EI program. It reads:

“More important, the entire system may need an overhaul. The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies warned last year that EI is enabling recipients to drift between seasonal jobs when it should be penalizing frequent claimants and their employers and putting the savings into educational vouchers to retrain workers. Worse, EI is seemingly out of step with the work force . . . The situation demands major thoughtful change, instead of small projects that may only create more problems.”

To read the Globe and Mail editorial, click here.

AIMS has been just as persistent in its work on transfer payments and equalization. Lorne Gunter, columnist with the National Post, used a recent trip to Halifax to revisit the transfer payment debate and the harm he sees it has done to Atlantic Canada. Quoting AIMS’ work, Gunter explained the potential for the region, and the problems transfer payments have caused. He writes:

“As the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies explained this summer to a federal panel contemplating changes to the equalization formula, when have-not governments want more revenue they can “encourage economic growth, raise taxes, borrow, or secure new federal transfers.” If they are successful at expanding their provinces’ economies, they lose federal transfers. If they go into debt, most of the new revenue is eventually eaten up in interest payments. But if they raise their own taxes, federal payments rise with them.”

To read Lorne Gunter’s column “Keeping a good city down”, click here.
To read Lorne Gunter’s column “Atlantic Canada’s vicious cycle”, click here.

To check out AIMS’ work on equalization, click here.