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Harper commits Conservatives to tax break for EI premiums; Ignatieff promises CPP measures from Liberals

Work related issues have been front and centre of the federal election campaign the last two days. Yesterday, Stephen Harper committed the Conservatives to a tax break for Employment Insurance  premiums. Today, Michael Ignatieff promised three different measures by the Liberals to improve the Canada Pension Plan.

Specifically, the March 29, 2011 announcement ("Harper Announces Hiring Credit for Small Business") on the Conservatives' website stated that:

  • A re-elected Conservative Government would establish a one-year EI tax break for small businesses to hire new employees, helping to create new jobs and complete Canada's economic recovery.
  • To lower the cost of hiring new workers, the Hiring Credit for Small Business will provide a one-time credit of up to $1,000 against the resulting increase in a small employer's EI premiums in 2011.
  • The new hiring incentive credit will be available to approximately 525,000 employers, reducing their 2011 payroll costs by about $165 million.

Then, in a release today ("Michael Ignatieff announces Liberal plan to strengthen public pensions and support seniors"), the Liberals announced that:

  • A Liberal government will work with the provinces and territories to enhance the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) with:
  • A gradual expansion of the benefits provided by the CPP; and
  • A new Secure Retirement Option that will offer Canadians a simple, voluntary, tax-deductible savings option backed by the trusted, publicly-run CPP.
  • A $700-million annual boost to the Guaranteed Income Supplement to reduce poverty among seniors, especially women and seniors with disabilities.
  • To help workers left out in the cold when their employer goes bankrupt, the Liberals also committed to greater protection for those collecting long-term disability benefits, and to create a Stranded Pension Agency to give Canadians a new and safe option to manage their private pensions after corporate bankruptcies.