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Flaherty hits brakes on EI premiums

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The Harper government is scaling back plans to hike Employment Insurance premiums next year – and in the years to come.

Rather than raising premiums by the maximum of 15 cents for workers on Jan. 1, the hike will be limited to five cents per $100 of insurable earnings.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty made the announcement at an Ottawa fireplace dealer as a way of showing the Conservative government is responding to concerns of small business.

Mr. Flaherty also announced that premium hikes will be limited to 10 cents annually in subsequent years. This will have a multi-billion impact on the government's forecasts for balancing the budget over time.

A special panel is being struck to advise Ottawa as to how to manage the deficit in its EI account, which has been funded out of general revenues.

More to come

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