The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) is predicting that new changes to Employment Insurance (EI) will cost taxpayers $13.5 billion over the next year.

In their recent Legislative Costing Note, the PBO has determined the government’s changes to EI, introduced in September after the end of CERB, will cost $7.7 billion in this fiscal year and $5.8 billion next year.

“The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) eligibility period expired on September 26, 2020. To support those who remain unable to work, the Government has made several modifications to Employment Insurance (EI) regular, maternity and parental programs,” the report says.

Among the new changes include a decrease in the minimum number of hours to work before one qualifies for EI to 120. 

The minimum benefit has also been increased to $500 weekly, the same as CERB. The changes remain in effect until September 2021.

In August, the Trudeau government announced $37 billion in new handouts for Canadians affected by the coronavirus. Earlier this month, the PBO concluded that CERB had cost taxpayers $77 billion.

Even as the deficit climbs and the federal debt increases, the Trudeau government currently has no plans to balance the budget or reduce spending.

On separate occasions, both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland have blatantly refused to say if they will limit spending.

In his most recent estimate, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated that Canada’s debt has reached $1.45 trillion.

A recent survey found that 67% of Canadians think the deficit needs to be reduced. The same poll found that 51% of Canadians believe that the Trudeau government is only looking out for their own voters and not the welfare of the country.