09/11/2014 07:21 EDT | Updated 11/11/2014 05:59 EST

Joe Oliver set to announce EI premium cut to boost hiring

Faced with stubbornly sluggish job growth numbers, Finance Minister Joe Oliver is set to announce a new incentive for employers: A cut in employment insurance premiums.

A senior government source has confirmed for CBC News that the announcement, scheduled for 11 a.m. ET at a small business in Toronto on Thursday, will offer businesses this payroll expenses break in an effort to stimulate hiring.

The cut would take effect Jan. 1.

Employers — especially small businesses — have been clamouring for another break from the Harper government. Previous budgets have offered temporary programs rebating employment insurance premiums for small businesses who grew their payroll under otherwise difficult business conditions.

Previously, the federal government had frozen EI premiums for the next three years, citing a recovery in the government's books.

Oliver's move comes amid anemic job growth over the past year. More than 100,000 jobs were lost in the private sector last month — the highest one-month drop on record. The bleak numbers may have proved too dire for the government to ignore.

The Conservative government is gearing up for an election in 2015, hoping to focus on economic issues and, in particular, items that hit the pocketbook of everyday Canadians.  

Gloomy job numbers make it tough to convince voters they are better off with the Conservatives at the helm.