It’s a “mistake” for the federal government to cancel an extra five weeks of employment insurance benefits, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Thursday.

As of Saturday, Ottawa will cancel the extra weeks of regular benefits and stop providing up to an extra 20 weeks for longer-serving employees.

Last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper enhanced EI benefits for laid-off workers in response to massive job cuts during the economic downturn.

Five weeks of EI benefits roughly equals $1,768 on average and 20 weeks works out to an average of $7,072.

The economic recovery and the lack of consumer confidence make this the wrong time to start cutting benefits, said McGuinty.

“It’s too early for us to roll back benefits for employment insurance given the state of the recovery. I think that’s a mistake,” said McGuinty.

The federal government should also put off any plans to raise EI premiums on employers for the same reason, said McGuinty.

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