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The government has announced it is cancelling the first phase of the Canada Employment Insurance (CEI) program, the most controversial part of the country’s social security system.
More than 2 million people in the country will lose benefits starting April 1, according to the announcement Thursday.
The program was meant to help workers find work and support themselves in their retirement.
It has been in place since 2008.
It was originally meant to pay people for working part-time or part-year and help those who were not able to find full-time work.
Employers can still continue to deduct benefits from workers’ paycheques, but that will be capped at $5,500.
The government says workers can still get some of that back if they work for 15 hours or more per week.
The cancellation comes at a time when many Canadians are finding themselves without full-year income, and they have little to no savings.
According to a survey released by the Conference Board of Canada, fewer than one in five people in Canada have any savings in the bank, and just 14 per cent have enough money in the past three months to cover expenses.
A growing number of people have taken on more debt, often because they cannot afford to pay it off.
The decision to cancel the first of the CEE program phases comes on the heels of the Canadian Press-Canadago poll showing a majority of Canadians say the government should be doing more to help Canadians who are unemployed.
It also comes on a day the government is hosting a roundtable with the provinces and territories to discuss ways to help people find jobs.