A taxpayer group says Canada's employment insurance system is broken and needs to be replaced.

In a report released Monday, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says the EI system is being used by Ottawa as a cash cow.

Federation director Gregory Thomas says the federal government collected $3.3 billion more in EI revenues last year than it paid out in benefits. He also says that surplus is expected to rise to $4.2 billion this year.

The federation says Canadians should be allowed to keep the money they and their employers pay in EI premiums in personal unemployment accounts.

Under the plan, EI contributions would be accessed only if workers become unemployed.

Thomas said any untapped money could be put to Canadians' retirement. 

"If you manage your career properly and if you manage to hang on to your job, that money would roll tax free into your pension account," he said.

with a file from CBC News