Option consommateurs is concerned about the widening social inequality in the country and, as a result, I would like to make a few recommendations for the budget.
The first recommendation is to eliminate the employment insurance waiting period and extend the benefit period to meet the changing nature of unemployment in Canada.
Then, our second recommendation is to convene a job creation summit with participation of all stakeholders, from provincial premiers to representatives of unemployed workers.
It is also important to rigorously assess all retraining programs for relevance to the job market and for value for money for taxpayers' dollars. Literacy, numeracy and financial literacy should be part of all retraining programs.
We propose increasing the maximum benefit payable under the GIS (guaranteed income supplement) program, to increase the GST credits and, finally, to use the powers given to the Minister of Finance to reduce the imbalance between large institutions and individuals by ensuring that issuers of credit cards increase minimum payments balances.
Of course, you'll find more recommendations in our submission, particularly on safeguarding and improving the health and safety of consumers, the terms and conditions for student loans, eliminating the problem of chronic underemployment among highly skilled immigrants.
I am now ready to answer your questions.