09/09/2013 10:22 EDT | Updated 11/09/2013 05:12 EST

Jim Flaherty puts 3-year freeze on EI premiums

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced a 3 year-freeze on EI premiums for employers and employees in Ottawa on Monday as a way to support small and medium businesses and working Canadians.

Flaherty said the step will result in savings of $660 million in 2014.

"We are able to do this because of the falling unemployment rate — more people are working, fewer people are claiming Employment Insurance benefits and as a result the Employment Insurance operating account is on track to return to balance earlier than had been planned," Flaherty told reporters.

Employees currently pay a maximum annual EI premium of $891.12 while employers pay $1,247.57 based on a maximum annual insurable earnings of $47,400.

That works out to a 1.88 per cent EI premium rate for employees.

More to come