EI changes draw criticism, concern in P.E.I.

Teresa Wright
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Sweeping changes to employment insurance rules announced Thursday in Ottawa are drawing criticism and concern from many in Prince Edward Island.

Due to the seasonal nature of P.E.I.’s three biggest industries, many workers in the province rely heavily on EI to get through the cold winter months.

But the federal government’s upcoming changes are specifically targeting these repeat EI claimants. Frequent users will have six weeks to find a job in their field. After that, they will have to take any job for which they are qualified, even if it is not in their field and even if it pays 30 per cent less than their previous wage.

 

 

CLICK HERE FOR BACKGROUNDER ON THE EI CHANGES

 

Fishers in P.E.I. will be directly impacted by these changes.

“For fisherman, it puts them at a real disadvantage because, where are they going to get these jobs?” said P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association President Mike McGeoghegan.

He pointed to the fact P.E.I. has one of the toughest job markets in the country. Statistics Canada numbers show more than 14 Islanders were looking for work for every job available in the three months ending December, 2011.

McGeoghegan said most fishers would rather not have to access the EI system and would gladly fish year-round.

“(Fishers) have a full-time job, it’s just because the water freezes (that they go on EI). If the water didn’t freeze we’d be fishing all the time,” he said.

Other rule changes will force greater scrutiny on those drawing EI to ensure they are actively looking for a job.

EI claimants will be required to keep a record of their job search to be submitted upon request. The federal government will also email two “job alerts” to EI claimants every day, informing them of available jobs.

Those who have not frequently accessed EI will also have to be willing to take jobs that pay 10-20 per cent lower than their previous wage for employment within their fields and within an hour’s commute of their home.

Malpeque Liberal MP Wayne Easter says he does not believe these changes are fair to Canadians who work in specialized fields or who live in rural areas.

“Seasonal industries are a fact of life in Prince Edward Island…but in other sectors, there may be work available and if work, you know, is suitable for people who are unemployed and if it’s in their area, they will be expected to take it,” Gail Shea, Egmont MP and National Revenue Minister

He also questioned government’s ability to police these new rules.

“How are they going to enforce this great grandiose scheme?” Easter said.

“They’ve closed down 99 (EI) offices across the country and they’re going to add enforcement on top of a smaller workforce when they can’t even process claims during high lay-off periods for 10 or 12 weeks? I mean, tell me, how in the hell are they going to do that?”

Premier Robert Ghiz said Thursday he is very concerned about the upcoming changes.

He said P.E.I. has different challenges than other jurisdictions, including a lack of province-wide public transit and a mainly seasonal economy whose three largest industries are farming, fishing and tourism.

“(The changes) could have a hindrance to our industries here in Prince Edward Island that rely on workers coming back year after year that have expertise in these areas,” Ghiz said.

“One size does not fit all across Canada. In Prince Edward Island we do not have golf courses open, we do not grow potatoes and we do not catch lobster in the middle of January and we need the federal government to understand that we are an economy that is still based on our three primary industries agriculture, fisheries and tourism.”

But federal Revenue Minister and P.E.I. MP Gail Shea said these seasonal workers will have to try to find alternate employment in the winter months before turning to EI.

“Seasonal industries are a fact of life in Prince Edward Island…but in other sectors, there may be work available and if work, you know, is suitable for people who are unemployed and if it’s in their area, they will be expected to take it.”

Ghiz remains hopeful he may be able to convince the federal government to make allowances for P.E.I.

Innovation Minister Allen Roach will be meeting with federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley next week to discuss the issue and negotiate.

In the meantime, Ghiz said the provincial government will continue to monitor the situation “to ensure Prince Edward Island is treated with the respect and dignity that we deserve.”

The new rules are expected to come in effect early in 2013.

 

 

Organizations: Employment Insurance, Statistics Canada, Canadian Press Conservatives Canadian Labour Congress

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada, Ontario New Brunswick Alberta Nova Scotia Saskatchewan British Columbia Quebec

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Recent comments

  • To Small Town Girl
    May 31, 2012 - 16:43

    Come on Girl do the math correctly. If both your parents were working and traveled together they would be getting($220+240) or 460 per week $920 for 2 weeks and ($23,920)for 52 weeks. They may or may not get full 40 hour work weeks but it is a heckuvalot better income than a lot of Islanders live on especially single parents with children. Sorry, I don't feel sorry for them. If EI is going to be treated as Insurance than those habitual users should be paying a much higher premium based on history of claims just as auto insurance premiums are set. Those with higher number of accidents pay a higher premium.

  • Marcelo Bosco
    May 29, 2012 - 11:47

    I bring foreign workers myself WITHOUT having ANY subsidy from the government. They are hard workers and do not come to this country to speculate and get enough hours to draw unemployment.... Some locals blame foreign workers for taking their jobs away.....Not enough winter jobs on the island.... How come I came across mexican workers at the Superstore in the month of January ?????

  • Marcelo Bosco
    May 29, 2012 - 11:46

    I bring foreign workers myself WITHOUT having ANY subsidy from the government. They are hard workers and do not come to this country to speculate and get enough hours to draw unemployment.... Some locals blame foreign workers for taking their jobs away.....Not enough winter jobs on the island.... How come I came across mexican workers at the Superstore in the month of January ?????

  • Travis
    May 27, 2012 - 16:02

    I moved out west to get work as there was no work on PEI. I called people back on the Island to tell them to get out here and get some of this money. The usual response was, I just got my weeks in for pogey. Maybe next year. I really resent those who think it is there god-given right to sit on their ass and take my tax dollars because it isn't "fair" for them to have to look for work. I wonder what our ancestors who crossed the Atlantic in small wooden ships looking for better opportunities would think of their descendents now.

  • John
    May 25, 2012 - 23:54

    Currently in Prince Edward Island someone earning minimum wage ($10/hr) in a seasonal job who manages to get the 14 weeks of full-time work(40/hr/wk) needed to qualify to apply for EI can look forward to the following scenario over the coming year. Income Gross Net (less source deductions) @ $400 x 14 weeks 14 weeks of full-time work = $5,600 $4,645 @ $55 x 31 weeks 31 weeks of part-time work = 1,705 1,673 @ $220 x 31 weeks 31 weeks of EI income = 6,820 6,277 14,125 12,595 * Yes this leaves 7 weeks with NO income in this calculations When the new 14% HST is factored in the spendable income would be $11,048 (12595-1547). This is the governments thinly veiled attempt to legislate a lower official unemployment rate. Currently reported numbers are based on the number of people receiving EI vs the number of people working (doesn't include those considered to be non-participants - not working but not receiving EI / looking for work). This could also be seen as a definite move, whether we recognize it or not, to shift the real responsibility for employment levels from employers to the employees. By making it mandatory that one has to accept any job that the government deems to be 'suitable' at a 70% wage or not receive EI will effectively change the numbers used to report the official unemployment rate thereby fudging that rate. At the same time it will also allow them (politicians) to stand up, waving flags and congratulating themselves for how many jobs they 'created'. Why has the focus been on the number of jobs created since the last financial crisis rather than on the value of the payroll of those jobs? Is it because the jobs were for the most part paying lower hourly wages or less than full-time hours? Is it really a step forward to create 2 or 3 low (or minimum) wage jobs to replace 1 high wage jobs (think unionized manufacturing). With their proven track record firmly established as having a marked propensity towards union-busting, the proposed changes in wages and hours payable, as well as these changes to the EI it seems that maybe the whole country will end up working for minimum wage. This current government's actions serve to effectively lower the standard of living of all wage-earning Canadians in their blind rush to be seen as competitive in the global marketplace. Whether or not we will actually be competitive or not remains to be seen.

    • ELECTRICALENGINEER
      May 28, 2012 - 07:54

      What nonsense! There are many, many people on the Island who have been on EI consistently for 20, 30 and even 40 years. That should have been enough time to find a job. I know of people who are retired and 75 years old and still draw EI.To my way of thinking, that is fraud.Yet many do it every year.

  • Jamie
    May 25, 2012 - 20:35

    Well, I was laid off by my employer during the second week of January due to the fact that raw materials were scarce at the time. Hardly my fault. I filed an EI claim, drew 2 full checks once it got going and received a call from my employer asking if I'd like to return to work to help out with renovations and maintenance. I jumped at the chance as I had just been debating what to cancel to save money right before the call came. I was figuring it would be better to pay my rent, buy groceries, gas, keep the place heated and have electricity than it would be to have my satellite dish, internet, etc. Once I received that call, I realized I wouldn't have to disconnect anything. Needless to say, I was quite happy. EI sucks, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet. Been busy ever since, and am hoping to avoid EI altogether, or at least as long as possible. The part that really irks me, however, is that my community (Murray Harbour) has people sitting around on pogey most of the year, while my employer is forced to bring in workers from China to fill positions that most in the area feel they're above taking. If it's not fishing, or a 14 week government job to get EI, most won't touch it. Disgraceful.

  • AMAZED
    May 25, 2012 - 18:25

    I don't understand all the hate there is for fishermen Yes they draw EI but if they are above a certain income they pay it all back...well %85 of it .From one year to the next they don't know what thier income may be so every one files a claim.Originally when this program for fishers started it was to supplement the winter months. To save money the program was lumped in with UI to administer because they had existing facilities that easily handled these files,in hindsight maybe they should have kept the programs separate but it did cost less to deliver this under one roof with existing facilities.

  • Moe
    May 25, 2012 - 16:58

    So Mike McGeoghegan thought fishers would be exempt from the EI changes. I guess him and Charlie didn`t care how this would affect others as long as it did`t affect them. Unbelievable. Can`t wait to see Mike McGeoghegan serving me coffee this winter in the drive thru on my way to work.

  • not happy
    May 25, 2012 - 15:02

    get real people why should the government put a roof over your head and food on yout table, that is your responsibility NOT THE GOVERNMENT, also why should fisherman get EI they are self employed I am self employed and I can't get EI and yes my work is seasonal too but guess what I look for other employment to get me through I know what it takes to have what I need. in my life. Sometimes I have to takes jobs I don't necessaryly like but I take it so I can survive and pay my bill JUST SAYING!!!

  • kielceman
    May 25, 2012 - 14:33

    I certainly sympathize with people who do genuine seasonal work, like fishers, but I know of many businesses gaming the EI system -- they hire people for a bit, lay them off, bring them back, etc. And these are not seasonal businesses. Why should the taxpayers of Canada subsidize these firms? If they can;t afford to pay workers a decent wage full time then they should close. (Yes, that's the way it's done in the rest of the country!) And if the people who then have lost their employment can't find alternatives, they will indeed have to leave. (I've lived and worked in four cities in Canada and the USA before coming here.) Unless they are aboriginals, their own ancestors left their place of origin for work! That's life in the "real world."

  • the rest of canada
    May 25, 2012 - 12:18

    The rest of Canada is getting sick of keeping us afloat. I don't blame them. You people do realize we get ridiculous $$$ from transfer payments right? If you want to complain to the feds, realize that if we were our own country we would be so poor lol.

  • happy person
    May 25, 2012 - 12:16

    Most people here are just mad they won't be able to work half of the year, and do nothing all winter. Many claim it isn't the governments money to take, but I endorse this fully. People who aren't lazy and have no choice whether they pay into EI are sick of the thousands of moochers on PEI that make it a way of life to sit around and do nothing all winter. Most of the people complaining probably pay a few hundred into EI and receive thousands each year... How is that fair? It's not "employment insurance" for these people, it's guaranteed income. They know they're going to get it every year. EI should be for people who unexpectantly lose their employment, not people who know they're going to be out of work. Go find another job, move if you have to. It's what everyone else does.

  • peter
    May 25, 2012 - 12:05

    Why does our Government MP get a pension after two terms elected, isn't this worst than season workers getting EI. Season workers don't make the same wages as our MPs. Maybe our great Government should watch how they spend our money better and all of us would be better off. Plus do away with Senate as they are a waste of money and they really don't do anything useful. If our Country is in such bad shape, why is our Government give away millions dollars to other countrys, when we can't help our own people. It seems the poor always get hit the hardest and the rich gets a FREE Ride.

  • somewhat confused
    May 25, 2012 - 11:50

    I always figured EI by definition was insursnce agaist finding yourself unemployed and needing financial help until you found some thing else. Too bad all insurance wasn't like this, we could all buy new cars and SUVs in the spring, drive them all summer, then total them in the fall and have our insurance company buy us new ones. It would be great for all the car dealerships, however I think we'd find our polcies cancelled, the premium go up, or investigated for Insurance Fraud if we were making claims on such a regular basis

  • concerned person
    May 25, 2012 - 11:39

    i work at walmart, i have bills rent and kids, i have been there for yrs, you can not get full time hrs, and once christmas is over u are lucky to walk out with 12-17 hrs a week, and you can not get a second job, cause you have to watch where you get it cause they will fire you, you can not work for another company that sells food, bedding, anything, so how is the goverment suppose to find you a job in your filed to surive

  • ILS
    May 25, 2012 - 11:22

    I dunno what the Furher - oops the Prime Minister - is thinkin'. Everyone knows you can't spell 'PEI' without 'EI'.

  • Unbelievable
    May 25, 2012 - 11:18

    Way to go government. This will just add to the broken homes and the suicide rate in PEI. But as always the government doesn't care.

  • Face it
    May 25, 2012 - 11:10

    Lets face it for many of islanders who use unemployment there are no jobs that will pay 70% of their income that they would be qualified for. Please tell me what job is here on the island that is going to pay 70% of a fishermans salary? They dont exisit especially in January. I agree it will change the lives of many who are working other seasonal jobs however, if you are only required to go to work for a job that pays atleast 70% of your income than you would be making more money than you would be if you stayed on unemployment why wouldnt you want to work?

  • ELECTRICALENGINEER
    May 25, 2012 - 11:09

    McGeoghegan said most fishers would rather not have to access the EI system and would gladly fish year-round. “(Fishers) have a full-time job, it’s just because the water freezes (that they go on EI). If the water didn’t freeze we’d be fishing all the time,” he said. -That is absolute BS. All over the Island, come July 1, most of the spring fishermen are on EI. And they never have to look for a job as other Canadians in other provinces have to do. They use EI as a way to supplement their income. This has to stop.And Charlie, we may have some late springs, but I have never seen the Gulf or the Strait frozen in July. You have to start telling the truth here. When the ground is frozen in winter, you don't see any farmers on Pogey, do you? So why fishermen in July?

    • FishingDaughter
      May 25, 2012 - 17:03

      ELECTRICALENGINEER As someone who comes from a fishing family, which, you may not because you obviously didn't know that July 1st is not when fishing ends. My father fishes (and I happen to fish with him) and once Lobster fishing is over, he has herring fishing, and tuna fishing and halibut fishing so it's not a "July 1st is here time to rely one the government" situation. Most fisherman didn't even complete high school, like my father they have just been fishing all their lives (since he was 13) finding a job will to let him fish from May-October and still allow him time to build all the traps, rig the nets and get prepared is not going to happen. Do you have a job where they allow you to take 6-7 months off at a time, cause I sure haven't worked one of those, ever.

    • ELECTRICALENGINEER
      May 28, 2012 - 07:35

      FISHINGDAUGHTER like my father they have just been fishing all their lives (since he was 13) finding a job will to let him fish from May-October and still allow him time to build all the traps, rig the nets and get prepared is not going to happen. Do you have a job where they allow you to take 6-7 months off at a time, cause I sure haven't worked one of those, ever. I guess that's the point I try to make. Why should he have 6 months off EVERY YEAR because he chooses to fish. We should not have to pay for his choices, you don't pay for mine. And yes, there are plenty of fishermen who only fish crab and spring lobster then draw EI the rest of the year, and in a lot of cases, so do their spouses who never set foot in a boat. That is why the Harper government,with the consent of other provinces are making these changes to EI. And it's about time.

  • Sarah
    May 25, 2012 - 10:43

    I have 2 questions. First is what is the 70% based on for seasonal workers? Is it weekly pay in the thousands during fishing season? Not much chance of finding an unskilled job paying that within an hour of anywhere on the Island! Could this have anything to do with the Tory plan to offer corporate lobster licenses?

  • Gary Walker
    May 25, 2012 - 10:04

    Write a 'letter to the editor', folks. Put your name on it and stick to your guns. Do you think that people with no internet access are reading this? Blogs were only created as a venting space, not somewhere that changes will be discussed. Make a noise that will be heard.

    • Gary B
      May 25, 2012 - 10:38

      HOW AM I SPOSED TO BY MY CIGRITS AND BEERS? I ALREADY DRAW POGEY AN WORK FOR CASH, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO MAKE A LIVIN WORKING A DAY JOB TOO? I WONT BE ABLE TO DO MY CASH JOBS.

  • I can't believe it
    May 25, 2012 - 09:49

    I can't believe what I am reading from my fellow Islanders . Complaining about the goverment trying to save our country from becoming like Greece . Come on . people , be reasonable , we all know that the EI system here on PEI is a way of life now for a lot of people who are abusing it big time . It is disgraceful that we have to import workers from other countries because our own people are to lazy or whatever to fill these job's . As far as the fishers go , if their votes had not been bought by the liberals , they would either be fishing or working at another job like they used too before EI . If people are laid off & another job is not found , I am sure they will still get their cheque . In my day EI wasn't even close to enough to live on & you were damm glad to take any job you could find .This country & the people had much more pride in themselves at that time .

    • Need to import foreign workers??
      May 25, 2012 - 11:26

      Companies don't need to import foreign workers, they do it because the government subsidizes the wages! I know of a lot of people laid off recently from a job at a fishery because the company had hired too many and they wanted to keep the foreign workers. Why? Because the government subsidizes the wages for them and the company need only pay approximately half the salary. I'm not saying this is true for everywhere, but I am sick of people talking about jobs going to foreign workers instead of canadians. If the government didn't subsidize these workers they wouldn't be brought in!

    • Need to import foreign workers??
      May 25, 2012 - 12:30

      Companies don't need to import foreign workers, they do it because the government subsidizes the wages! I know of a lot of people laid off recently from a job at a fishery because the company had hired too many and they wanted to keep the foreign workers. Why? Because the government subsidizes the wages for them and the company need only pay approximately half the salary. I'm not saying this is true for everywhere, but I am sick of people talking about jobs going to foreign workers instead of canadians. If the government didn't subsidize these workers they wouldn't be brought in!

  • common sense guy
    May 25, 2012 - 09:42

    Well after reading all the comments on this issue on both this website and the CBC website I realized that there are a lot of people on this Island that have the opinion that seasonal workers are just a bunch of "moocher's." The thing I'm wondering though is how many of these comments are written by health care workers, bankers, police officers,or even people who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths and got breaks in life based on their family's status? None of these people ever have to worry about job cut backs or lack of work, but also they only work 40 hrs a week year round and get their vacation time just like everyone else. Here's what I don't like about this. I am a seasonal worker who went to Holland college to learn my trade, and I didn't have funding. I'm supposedly one of these so called "moocher's" I'll have you know that during the six months of the year I work I don't work 40 hr weeks I work 80-90 hrs a week which if you do the math I work as much in 6 months as a full year worker working 40 hrs a week. However because I'm in management of a seasonal property I'm put on a salary wage that pays based on 40 hrs a week. So I don't even get paid for those extra 40 hrs that I work, but I have to do it to survive to ensure I keep my job in this horrible economy we're living in, and in my field there is no full time positions available in the winter because all business slows down. So I'm forced to take part time work and I rely on EI to help me pay my bills. It's not as easy as people think to be a seasonal worker, and I agree there are people who abuse the system. Everyone pays into EI on their pay not just the people who work year round. Hopefully now when people read this they can put themselves in other people's shoes and stop blaming all for the mistakes of few on the many, and stop assuming that they work harder then the average seasonal worker, and stop calling us "moochers."

    • RG
      May 25, 2012 - 11:46

      So, Common Sense Guy, You say you work 80hrs per week. Ok, so that means you work as many hours as us year round workers for the year. So if we work the same amount of hours for the year, why are you entitled to extra money from EI and we get nothing? If you make enough money, you should be able to budget so that you can live off that money year round and not have to collect EI during the winter. Teachers get the summer off but they don't get EI. Why are they different than you?

    • common sense guy
      May 27, 2012 - 01:25

      well RG you obviously didn't read my whole post because if you did you wouldn't be asking such a dumb question. lol I said I work as much as you do but I don't get paid for every hour I work because I'm on a set salary based on 40 hrs a week . So the extra 30 - 40 hrs I work I don't get paid for them. So I don't make enough money to save for the entire winter. I hope that clears up any confusion you might have, and like I said I use EI to supplement my income when I can only work part time in the winter because there's no work available anywhere. Oh and teachers have it set in their salary that they have deductions on their pay through the year to continue gettting paid during the summer, and be realistic teachers are only off work for 8 weeks, not really a strong statement in this debate.

  • Small Town Girl
    May 25, 2012 - 09:33

    I grew up in a very small "town". I have since moved closer to Charlottetown, but both my parents still live in that small town. They both have seasonal jobs, and the reason for that....there are NO jobs in that small town through the winter months!!! I could basically name all of the businesses in that town on one hand, and the people who were lucky enough to get those jobs, keep them, because there is nothing else. So what are these seasonal workers suppossed to do when winter rolls around, and there are NO jobs at their local grocery store, or pharmacy to apply for??? Travel an hour to Charlottetown 5 days a week?? Let's say one of these small towners gets a job at WalMart. According to Google Maps, that's 81.9 kms one way. Working 40 hrs a week for minimum wage, that's approximately $320 after taxes +/-. Driving a total of 163.8 kms a day would burn, let's say $20 (I'm not an expert on gas milage, it depends on a lot.) So that's $100 a week. So, all that said, these people would only make approx. $220 a week!! That's only $440 every two weeks!!! I would really love to see any of those politicians in Federal government live off $440 every two weeks!!! MR. GHIZ, this message is for YOU....you've done wrong by us on so many things lately, DON'T MESS THIS ONE UP. PLEASE. For the sake of my 65 year old parents (who should be retired by now, by the way, thanks for that too, Prime Minister Harper....) and all the other small towners out there who just can't afford to travel within an hour of where they live to work, and can't apply for other jobs BECAUSE THERE ARE NONE!!!!!!!!!!!

    • daniella
      May 25, 2012 - 11:32

      about ur conversation about walmart i been at walmart for 6 yrs and i am really sorry to say u will never get 40 hrs a week and if u werent in the store when it opened u will never have full time, i am getting 12-14 hrs a week jan-may may to august 28 and sept till nov 12-17

    • single mom of two
      May 25, 2012 - 21:39

      in response to small town girl... i totally agree with you by the time you travel,pay for gas and don't forget the big one CHILD CARE i wouldn't make anything or have any money for the necessities. to put a 10 month old in daycare is $40 a day plus a 3 year old is $25 a day so do the math. i wouldn't even have $220 a week i would be in the minus. as far as child support as i'm sure will be mentioned the father left and i have no idea in where in the world he is so that's not even an option. why doesn't the federal government start picking at the ones that are on welfare year round when alot of them are perfectly able to work!!!!!!!!!!!!! us seasonal workers pay into the ei system what do welfare people contribute.....nothing! we the tax payers pay for those people who ABUSE the system to sit on their a**es and receive money from the government monthly. so take a long hard look GHIZ at all the ins and outs of this new law for ei recipients.

  • bunny
    May 25, 2012 - 09:20

    Ghiz was on the radio this morning complaing that 1 hour for many is too long to travel to work. Well he didn't mind telling dialisis patients patients that they had to drive an hour a day for potentially the rest of their lives. I guess his kidneys are more secure than his job at this point.

  • CB
    May 25, 2012 - 09:09

    It is referred to as insurance but insurance is to be in place in the rare chance that something happens, or in the case of life insurance the premiums are to cover the eventual payout on death based on life expectancy. For seasonal workers, based on existing rules, they know that they will be able to collect EI after their season is done unless they decide to get other work. For these workers it is a sweet deal - contribute say $500 a year to get $10,000 or more in EI - I wish I could find an investment that provided that rate of return. An alternative change would be to have people who are in jobs where they typically will collect EI to contribute more to the system. Another change would be to have potentially 100% of EI be clawed back at a certain rate when income is over a certain level, just like with Old Age Security,

    • No longer proud to say I am Canadian
      May 25, 2012 - 11:01

      Clawed back EI...wonderful, if I don't use..then why should I have to pay into it. To say that people who make over a certain salary should not be entitled to it, then why should they have to pay into it. I am a full time employee who makes good money - have been paying into the EI system for well over 30 years without having to use it, but if I were layed off tomorrow, after paying into it for those years, I certainly would expect that I could use it. Plus, what about our men and women who go out west, during the winter months, to work on..let's say the oil rigs. Some of them work six months...seven days a week (no weekends off); etc., they earn, in this period, what many of us early in a year. These individuals work long days in all temperatures - whether it be minus 15 or minus 45. They get paid by the hole..so some work extremely hard and long days to earn what they can in that period of time. These individuals must pay into EI....so when they do get to come back to see their family, there should be no question about their entitlement. Many will take jobs, however, if their Western company calls because there is a need for them for a couple of months during the summer months, what are they to do; decline their Western company's offer and lose the opportunity for 6 - month of employment which is relied on to support their family, or stay with the $10.00 an hour job here because you may be fortune enough to get year round work, even though you must drive a hour or more to get to your job, even though working at this job is costing you more than you are actually taking home. Family break-ups, bankruptcy, suicide, need for Social Assistance, etc., will all increase due to the unclear thinking of government. I agree, there are those who do abuse the system, but why, once again, are all painted with this same brush???? All circumstances need to be looked at and leave those hard-working people alone. How many of you who are involved in making these decisions, must leave your families for months of the year in order to make a decent income ?

  • Not the right change
    May 25, 2012 - 08:48

    I agree that it was time for something to change with the EI system but this is definitely not the way to go about it. This will cripple the PEI economy, maybe not right away but it will. It's very easy for MP's who never have to worry about not having a pay check to say those who might normally turn to EI should just take a job where ever they can, but who wants to hire someone when they know they will be losing that employee mid-spring?! I am a UPEI grad with federal & provicinal gov't work experience and experience in managerial posotions. The only job I could get this summer was at a Tourism Info center and I am expected to just take a job where ever once the center closes in the fall?? Who will hire a university grad with lots of experience just to c over my ass for the winter?? No one because I am over qualified & they know I would leave the moment I found something better. I will end up being one of the many skilled young adults who will be force to leave PEI. Not everyone who relies on EI is looking for a free ride, some of us just need a leg up while we look for our start in life. I didn't go to university to work retail or at a fast food restaurant and a decent job search takes time.

  • Social divisions deepen
    May 25, 2012 - 08:44

    It is interesting just how right wing policies like this exposes and deepens the deep social divisions in society.If we needed a government to sow discontent and deep social divisions in our society then we have certainly elected the right gang. Very disappointing to read some of the harsh comments from some of the people here.

  • Lori
    May 25, 2012 - 08:40

    I am sooo disguisted by this.... Of course there are people who take advantage of it, but really don't you think the majority of people want to work full-time and be contributing members of society and their communities! REALLY. the Harper government = Dictatorship. Gail Shea - you have succumbed ... so disappointed.

  • Bmac
    May 25, 2012 - 08:32

    Love the suit Dianne,that's about it...

  • Jack N
    May 25, 2012 - 08:32

    It is about time. I know some helper,s on fishing boats making maximum E.I. stamp for 12 weeks and party for the rest of the year. They make $450.. per week doing nothing they will not work at any job for $10 to $15 per hour. Better to sit on their a$$es and do nothing or work under the table. Make them work. About time the free ride is done.

    • Jennifer
      May 25, 2012 - 14:47

      I would like to see YOU do that "free ride" for the season and see what you have to say then. That job is one of the most dangerous jobs out there, not to mention physically demanding and basically makes you a walking zombie until the season over. They probably wok harder in their short season and then you do all year... just saying. So if they are all made to get other jobs, how are they supposed to get ready for their true job once the season comes around. I know many fishermen who work their ass off for months before the season starts to be prepared... when are they going to do the needed preparations while working the local Tim Hortons?

  • Sick
    May 25, 2012 - 08:02

    Everyone across Canada needs to put this government out immediately!!!! WE all need to do something about these EI changes. This is hitting once again the poorist of the poor! These people are already punished for losing their job with a waiting period before receiving EI. NOW dicated to were as to where they are going to work! This is a disgrace!!

  • RG
    May 25, 2012 - 07:52

    About time they start making the regulations stricter for EI. To everybody complaining, this isn't going to force people to drive an hour to take a $10/hour job. There's $10/hour jobs everywhere, so if that's what you're forced to take, you'll get one close to your home. Also, even at a 30% rate cut, it's not like it's going to force fishermen to work at Tim's serving coffee. I don't know how much fishermen make, but if they made 50k, then that still means they can refuse any job that would pay less than 35k/year. This may not be good news for those that actually need EI, but here's one of those situations where several bad apples have ruined it for the rest. If people hadn't abused the system in the first place, there'd be no need for these stricter regulations, but fact is that people did abuse it which is why this is needed. If you want to blame anybody, blame those that sat on their behinds collecting pogey while watching tv and not even trying to find a job.

  • PEIResident
    May 25, 2012 - 07:48

    Is this not an insurance program for loss of employment? Why is this program not run like any other private insurance program. The more often you claim the higher your premium. Those who draw EI regularly pay a high premium and those that draw infrequently pay a low premium. That way those using the system the most often would pay the majority to support the system. The new system proposed by the Harper Gov. will simply lower wages for these frequent EI users each time they are layed off. Forcing them to take another lower paying job until they are only making minimum wage, which is what Harper and Big business want!

  • Quiet Observer
    May 25, 2012 - 06:57

    People read and understand. If an unemployed farm worker up west can not find a job in the off season, then he will not suffer. If there is a job available that he can do, he should take it. Period. There is no free-ride for anyone - those days are gone. This is going to impact those who choose to stay home on EI rather than work. And why should I work 45-50 hour weeks year round, paying into the EI system, so someone can choose to sit home and do nothing most of the year and live off my money. If there is a job available, yes, they should be forced to take it. I don't care if you are a fisherman or a farm hand. Why should i work my butt off so you can choose to stay home and do nothing. For those who cannot find work, and there is truly no work available, then these new changes will not affect them.

  • Karl Proude
    May 25, 2012 - 06:50

    So does this mean, those that have to commute to other parts of the Country will be able to write off their cost such as Airline flights and meals?? Where are our politicians on this question?

  • Marlene
    May 25, 2012 - 05:42

    Why is there never talk about cutting out wellfare for the ones that use it as a means of NEVER working.I understand if this system is needed but not to live off of for the rest of your lives.At least if we need for some reason to have to draw EI,it is our hard earned money we are getting paid back.Some people have never paid into this system because they are repeat wellfare users and refuse to work because this is how they were brought up."A little food for thought "

    • another view
      May 25, 2012 - 12:21

      Well if you look at it that way, most abusers or seasonal workers in PEI pay a small percentage of what they mooch of the system. So no, most of it is not their own "hard earned money". It's my hard earned money and I'm tired of subsidizing lazy people and abusers.

  • The Next Step
    May 25, 2012 - 04:18

    I say... bring all the inmates out of Sleep Hollow and put them out on a chain gang in striped suites working the roads.

  • John W.A. Curtis
    May 25, 2012 - 03:52

    People on P.E.I. keep electing second string politicians who provide 14 week employment now Islanders will have to elect politicians who seek fulltime employment. I have a College education and was offered a job at $9.00 so I took a job for $10.00 an hour as a labour. The government would have provided a subsidy to Testoras. The government shouldn't have given Testoras any money.

  • Knows It
    May 25, 2012 - 02:45

    The fisherman try to keep it hush,but most draw 2 claims,one in the summer,then another in the winter,as long as fisherman makes enough for the 2 claims,they are good to go,you still hear some complaining about the wait between claims.If you make X amount of dollars before June 1 that covers you for your summer claim,then make X amount of dollars after June covers you for the winter claim. As far as fishing until freeze up,Charley must think we are still in the 80,s

  • PEI to be Closed for the Season
    May 25, 2012 - 01:10

    It has always been the case that, if you were requested, you were to provide job search details to the EI office. This has not often been enforced due to the knowledge of local EI staff regarding options (just checked jobbank and there are 2 jobs posted for Souris area, 10 jobs posted for Montague area, 6 in Oleary area and a grand total of 264 for all of PEI) - not a lot of options for the people in outter communities. Perhaps we all need to move our families to Charlottetown or better yet - Alberta. Not exactly sure what government wants other than to close PEI for the winter season and with all the cutbacks, in so many departments, perhaps shut PEI down entirely. Gov must remember, they are the ones that created the EI system to aid the people and keep us here, now they want to take it back.

    • Townie
      May 25, 2012 - 10:56

      If someone lives in souris and there is only 2 jobs posted, they apply for those jobs and don't get awarded them, then not to worry they will get their EI. People need to realize that as long as they follow the rules and honestly look for a job and dont' get one that they will be eligiable. People are upset because they are afraid to honestly look for work and be awarded the position.

  • alex
    May 25, 2012 - 00:59

    Looks good on all of those people who abused the system for so long. With all the time they had off, while others were out paying for their "vacations", perhaps they should of specialized in a trade or invested in an education!!! I hope the ride is over, but I'm sure it won't be. You people who have abused it, are PATHETIC!!!

  • lmacdonald
    May 24, 2012 - 23:50

    I wonder if this will make it harder for seasonal employers to find workers? Also, if it's a minimum wage job how can laid off workers possibly be expected to take a pay cut??? And when they say a person will be forced to take a lower paying job after 6 weeks....... isn't that how long it takes to actually process an EI claim (if you're lucky) Finally, they say that this is to reduce our reliance on bringing in foreign workers....... so what do we do with the foreign workers we've already brought in???

  • complaining complaining
    May 24, 2012 - 23:44

    This is a good thing. First of all, it makes businesses that want to exploit the seasonal nature of the Island accountable for their business all year round. There are several [most] year-round businesses that have to deal with slow times during the year, and they get absolutely no compensation for slow times and many have to compete with seasonal businesses that can afford to operate solely because operating within one season is an option (not only that, but those businesses also have to pay EI fees YEAR ROUND! Not just six months a year). Second, the people who currently make a career out of working seasonally and collecting EI in the winter will be forced to participate in and help generate economy, like every other grown adult does. I don't think that every job is a good job, or that EI should be hard to get, but I think that if you're working every year for six months and taking the winter off on someone else's dime, you have a very broken and greedy idea of how the world works. Instead of fighting for more free stuff, take jobs, unionize and demand fair wages and work for a living like everyone else does. Either that, or make those six months of work count so that you don't have to work the other six months of the year. Better yet, use the skills development program to enter a career that can support you year round. Career EI drawers do not belong in any kind of fiscally responsible economy. You do not have a right to work in the economy at the same wage as someone who is specialized/trained without working for it, nor do you have a right to work six months of the year on someone else's dime. If this Island's economy is not sustainable, then I guess we're all going to have to grow up and find our place in the world, instead of hiding from it.

  • lmacdonald
    May 24, 2012 - 23:41

    I wonder if this will make it harder for seasonal employers to find workers? Also, if it's a minimum wage job how can laid off workers possibly be expected to take a pay cut???

  • K
    May 24, 2012 - 23:36

    Right now there are two " big issues " on PEI. Drugs and the number of unemployed.... Does anyone think this is related??!!! I do! People drawing ei should have to take random drug tests while on ei. My husband works out west while our small family is in pei he has to take drug tests at random with his job. Those that are found with drugs in their system are let go. Then go on to draw ei. If ppl are using heavy street drugs how are they suppose to hold down a job? I have a relative that in one year was hired at over 10 places. There are jobs out there. Ppl have to get out and go door to door. Stop relying on just the Internet. I run a large store in a chain corporation and we rarely posted jobs online, you gets more recipients if you put a sign on the front door. I know I'm most likely opening a can of worms. But I honestly think this will decrease the amount of drug use if ppl thought they would lose their ei. Or reduce the claimants because the heavy drug users may not bother to even apply. This is just my thoughts.

  • great idea
    May 24, 2012 - 23:20

    I love it. This is a great new law, I hope they enforce it well. Until they give people who actually work all year a choice whether or not to pay into EI, this is a temporary fix. I hope that the choice comes next.

    • Christopher
      May 25, 2012 - 06:31

      you havent a clue of what your talking about do you?

    • Only the Lonely
      May 25, 2012 - 09:29

      Yeah and just think how great it will be in a couple of years. A few thousand of you will have the whole Island to yourselves. Enjoy yourselves. Most of us cannot live in a world with lower wages and the HST too. I hope you have a great time without us.

    • jacinta
      May 25, 2012 - 10:03

      The day will never come as this is a tax grab no more no less. Be careful for what you wish for because some day it may not be there for when you need it.

    • Strange
      May 25, 2012 - 10:12

      It seems strange that Harper is doing this when Canada has the 7th highest employment rate in the world ! Is it possible he is trying to drive wages down for his oil drilling buddies?

    • Jordan
      May 25, 2012 - 10:18

      Dad called laughin told me to read this and the comments. He says it comments sounds like,a bunch of low selfesteem ppl picced off at gvtmnt. I have a question if a bunch of seasonal workers take other jobs who's gonna work the seasonal jobs when spring, summeer winter, whatever the season is when they r suppose to go bck to work comes around? Here we've got farming, fishing, tourism. Nova Scotia has Ship building, forestry, farming, fishing, tourism. So whats the deal, where is it going to leave employers? Do we all move out west or the USA? That's where i'm going with my Dad the US 2 weeks after I graduate . I'm dual citizen, my dad's there, foreman of a big ass construction company in california and he has a union job with my name on it, just waiting for me start'in at $ 28 an hou.r > the I'm all that Gail Shea isn't sticking up for us, what's the deal it all sounds duh stupid. All this sounds straight up nasty. Let the low self esteem nasty take their agressions out elsewhere you just sounding skimpy and trashy stupid talking here. You'all need to be stick'in up for each other stand'in together dumbacces. Is government planning on bringing in more foreigners to work our seasonal jobs? I don't know personally know ghiz, brown, the rest, sure as hell don't trust aany of them. i graduate next year and getting the hell out of the maritimes, sellingthe land the granddparents left me before it becomespart of atlantica owned by evil corrupt government with their big business corporate business associates, some of them some of their personal business partners, invvestors.. This is WHACK. Who's gonna work the seasonal jobs, what are seasonal employers gonna do? Whack man, totally whack and sond'in like some of them into the crack. United you stand divided you all fall.

  • David .
    May 24, 2012 - 23:19

    I agree that there have been for decades many people, entire generations of families, who use EI as a source of income and abuse it: the party is over. But this solution isn't any better than someone who abuses EI, it's nothing more than the Conservative Party lashing out it's based on nothing other than mean spiritedness. A smarter solution would be anyone who isn't working, EI abusers, should be required to go to school either UPEI or Holland College. Even if the same amount of money was spent at least in the end you get someone with a better education. Do that each year and I bet the amount of people on EI will go down.

    • Cecile
      May 25, 2012 - 07:53

      DAVID, lighten up already. SO, what does Shea say . . . P.E.I. MP Gail Shea Said these seasonal workers will Have to try to find alternate employment in the winter months before turning to EI. GEE, Thanks Gail. By promoting You, the Harper CONS Think Islanders will vote for you again. Just before the next election, Harper will throw You a nice bone for You to throw at Islanders Only to get Us to Vote for You. However You have turned Your back on Us by Towing The Party Line on This important and frightening EI issue. IMO- Islanders who vote for You in the next election are Traitors and girl, You know what a Traitor is, don't You?

  • Been around for a while
    May 24, 2012 - 22:34

    Fishermen’s Association President Mike McGeoghegan, says fisherman need EI because the water freezes, OK Mike, why do so many fishers put in a claim in July, we are hearing about global warming but water freezing in July, how do you explain this, why not tell the truth, oh yes you would be fishing all the time, what would you be fishing, smelts?

    • mej
      May 25, 2012 - 10:24

      Perhaps they file in July to tied them over til the herring season starts in August and the scallops can be fished up til the water freezes. Have you ever gone scalloping in late November? Let me tell you its not pleasure!!

  • Kenneth Rogers
    May 24, 2012 - 21:50

    We pay into EI benefits from every cheque as a fail safe for if we lose jobs or can't find work. We have every right to use those benefits as we, the people who are paying into it, see fit!!! The EI fund has a surplus of $54 billion dollars and the government wants to try to tell us that we can't access it when we need it??? Well.....THAT'S NOT DEMOCRATIC!!! The government is using EI money to fund tax cuts for corporations without our concent but they don't want us to use it in our time of need??? Not very democratic either!! Maybe everybody in Canada should lay each other off and all draw EI for a year and see what the government thinks of that!! I bet that if a politician fell on hard times and couldn't find a job, they'd be hoping to draw EI to pay their bills and support their family. The whole constitution needs to be completely overhauled.....and a new one created by the people of the country....not the politicians or big business owners. We are no longer in a democracy....we have very little say in how the country is ran and what decisions are made. We vote for people who are supposed to have our best interests at heart and who are supposed to be speaking for the people they represent....but once politicians are voted in, their agenda changes drastically. Its all about investments and business deals that line their pockets. They make bad decisions and we have to pay for it. Its not right! There is nothing democratic about our current governments.....federally or provincially!!

  • UNDERSTAND THE CHANGES
    May 24, 2012 - 21:27

    TO J. No one is going to be asked to work for 70 per cent less. It is 30 per cent less. For example , if you were making 12.00 per hour and go on Ei you will get 55 per cent of the 12,00 dollars. Approx 6.50 per hour. If a job is available at 10.00 per hour you get 10,00. So which is best EI at 6.50 or a job at 10.00?

  • MFH
    May 24, 2012 - 21:07

    " Only if the people of Canada allow them to make these changes,Canada is still a democratic country the last time I checked. We have not returned to rule by dictatorship" Wayne MacKinnon.............. Sorry !!, But when Harper got a majority ,that's what this country became. Things are going to get a lot worse before we get rid of this guy. He is top candidate for worse prime minister ever.

  • jimmy buffet
    May 24, 2012 - 20:34

    First of all this is OUR contributions,employee and employer.Government does not put a nickel into this but takes the Billions of surplus from this program for thier own purposes.This action makes them look tough to all thier redneck following where their support lays and will keep thier votes.HOWEVER...if they can promise $150-$200 Million to Afghanistan per year after we leave in perpetuity,if we can pony up for $16 orange juice,$50 million gazebos ,helicopter rides,fake lakes for G-20 summit,jets that can't function in our climate(but are useful in Israel,Iran ,Iraq...you get my drift) it is disturbing that the Harper Government(TM) wants to pick on the downtrodden.How can any Conservative in the Maritimes show their face in public?

    • Karl Proude
      May 25, 2012 - 06:27

      I do so agree with your comments,and infact I feel the same about our Island Ghiz party,, You do to I bet !!! How do they do it ? and still sleep at night

  • perry
    May 24, 2012 - 20:31

    I don;t know where they dug up this thinktank.Sounds like they took a drive around alberta for a few minutes / went and had a big meal and within a few minutes decided to change ei.Come down to atlantic canada and check out the job market.(there is nothing) They are going to email 2 job alerts a day to people on e.i. Are they going to set everyone up with a computer / e mail. Only about 50% of people on pei have e mail. 15% of people age 15 to 29 / that never drew ei can;t find work.Imagine driving an hour one way to work and an hour home to make $10.00 an hour. After taxes and gas expense you would be lucky to clear $ 40.00 a day .Where is the 62 billion dollar surplus that was in the e.i fund a few years ago.I guess they need that to support their own big salaries and pensions. Its just one big cookie jar and unfortunally the wrong hands are in it.

    • Shellie
      May 25, 2012 - 06:36

      Lesson # 1 - NEVER use your Vote to vote in any majority government use it to ensure a minority government. #2 - nothing is as it seems when it comes to government & lieing politicians. #3 - political parties have reports indicating you are ignorant and apathetic & county by county just how ignorant and apathetic the community as a whole is. With the exception of politicians who come from blue collar backgrounds as a whole government politicians and their associates believe it AND unfortunatly We prove them correct IE: Voting for a second term Ghiz government. PEI and rural Nova Scotia ARE at the top of both Fed. & Prov. list indicating majority of population are Ignorant - Apathetic. I know because I was employed by top powerful politicians middleman responsible for all correspondence - communications and witnessed it.

  • Moo
    May 24, 2012 - 19:38

    What about the uneducated? My dad has a grade 6 education and I suspect many undiagnosed learning disabilities. What about him? He only works during the summer, because it's what he's good at! He couldn't work as a cashier, customer service....

    • candrayo
      May 25, 2012 - 09:25

      It does not take a genius to work at MacDonald's!! Only the drive to want to work. I think more people should be ashamed of themselves for relying on their working neighbour to support them and less ashamed to work in the fast food industry. Money is money...should not be my problem if you lack the drive to want to work!!! Time to toughen up and stop being lazy!!!

  • CBK
    May 24, 2012 - 16:37

    I find it incredibly frustrating that E.I claimants are consistently being referred to as "moochers" it disgusts me. first off, those who claim E.I benefits are also PAYING into E.I as well and if they are to lose their job and need some assistance I would think that would be what this program is for. I find it beyond words that the government is basically blaming the unemployed for the state of the economy and are making dictator like changes to the program that will likely cost them what they would have saved just to police it. I get that there are people who take advantage of the system but there are several people who genuinely need this program and to make it even harder is just going to force loyal islanders off this island for good. also to the comment regarding the Job Bank being down and to the responder that was so ignorant in their comments, the job bank is run by the federal government, therefore they should be on top of it and make all job postings available if they want people to be in the work force.

    • Lynn
      May 24, 2012 - 20:13

      People who have worked for many years and loose their job through no fault of their own are not moochers. Of course such people should have access to EI to help them get through a rough time. People who use EI EVERY YEAR are moochers. If you only work a small portion of the year and draw EI for the rest of it, then you are taking more money from the EI fund than you put in. Where do you think that money comes from? Expecting other people to work more than you so you can get the money they put into EI. Yes mooching seems the proper term for that.

  • Walace Cameron
    May 24, 2012 - 15:28

    Gerry, so you were lucky to have a very stable employer who weathered all economic storms and never had to laid you off. Maybe you were self employed, I don't know. Not everyone is that fortunate. It is a sad fact of life that many people lose their jobs due to no fault of of their own or maybe it was their fault. If it was their fault EI is hard to get, but the others should not be punished for losing a job for reasons beyond their control, You sound like a typical Tory. When you are experiencing good times and were never laid off then that must be the case for all workers and if not then it is their fault. Well Gerry, it does not work that way especially here on P.E.I. You were lucky and never lost a job, but unfortunately not everyone has that luck. Should they be punished? I don't think so.

    • Ulfric
      May 24, 2012 - 16:36

      Well said sir. Not many businesses here in the Maritime provinces have run steady without seeing any layoffs. Self employed is what I'm going with. Either that or one of them "it's all about who you know and who you 8l0w" type who never had to do an actual job search.

    • Curious
      May 24, 2012 - 17:11

      Just wondering....if the seasonal workers are going to be "forced" to accept lower paying jobs, perhaps all these overpaid government employees should have to take a cut too. Imagine the money that could go towards the defecit??? People have a hard job as it is making ends meet with the cost of living today. Leave the little people alone and start picking on your own size!

  • Shawn Worth
    May 24, 2012 - 15:17

    (( I hope and pray for the this paper's sake, people private emails stay private from government eye's.)) I remember, mr. harper that you said that maritimer's were very lazy people, What the h*ll happened to the money ( billion's of dollars ) that the government TAKEN from the umployment system. Keep your hand's off of the umployment system.

  • Joe
    May 24, 2012 - 14:35

    HOW IS ANYONE SUPPOSE TO FIND A JOB AND NOT BE ON EI WHEN THE JOB BANK WEBSITE IS DOWN ABOUT 6 DAYS OUT OF THE 7???????

    • Kinkora Kid
      May 24, 2012 - 15:16

      Joe- if you think the job bank is the only place to find a job you do not deserve ei. Laziness like yours is the problem.

    • Candrayo to Joe
      May 24, 2012 - 16:52

      What did you do before there was the internet???

  • So...
    May 24, 2012 - 14:32

    Does this mean that I will be ordering my coffee at Tims from a Northside Fisherman now?

  • BERTIE
    May 24, 2012 - 14:31

    Obviously the Harper Cons know the old adage ' there is more than one way to skin a cat'. No need to require forced mobility between regions when this set of measures will accomplish the same thing---- the mass exodus of Atlantic Canadians to Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan. The NDP's Peggy Nash is out front and centre opposing this but no sign of the Liberals. On PEI Easter is making some noise. The other red MPs have been silent. I can see Casey loving this as much as he loves low minimum wages. And the Ghiz government seems fairly coy actually. Only the NDP will stand up for people who have to work and struggle for a living. On PEI we will see the HST loving business organizations stay quiet while fantasizing this will mean more of us working at minimum wage. For them. Forget it. We will head to the real cash in the oil fields before we become your serfs again like our parents were. The Conservatives are the enemy, Islanders. And the Liberals are two faced or even quietly supportive of these EI changes. If you want protection from abuse and a decent living get ready to vote NDP. The old two parties are basically in cahoots against you anyway. That is where this is going. Like a fast train. It is NDP or misery for thousands for us.

  • Gerry
    May 24, 2012 - 13:51

    The title of this news article should state..."force workers to seek employment, period." While there are legitimate EI claims, there is also a percentage of people who are career claimants. As someone who chose to work for 45 years, never claimed EI; I have a problem with the culture which thinks taxpayers should take care of it because it has been permitted to milk the system, thus far. Then to have the audacity to condemn the government (taxpayers) for doing what should have been implemented ions ago, is totally unbelievable.

  • wog
    May 24, 2012 - 13:29

    It would warm my heart more to see the government create better and more incentives for individuals to upgrade skills, go back to school or take up a trade. While its fine to try and spur the 'moochers' to go get work, I don't think it takes into consideration the current state of the job market in different regions and indirectly is trying to motivate people to move. Seems like this current Harper government is really taking some hardline cues from our southern conservative neighbors (now that they have their majority), and I can't understand why.

    • Townie
      May 25, 2012 - 10:47

      Hmmm they could even call the program "Skills, Grants and Loans" or maybe "Skills Development" where the fed government will pay you EI and pay a portion of your tution so you can return to school and upgrade your skills. It would be brilliant. Trouble is it already exists. I've told lots of lifers about this program and they were always ready to come up with a hundred excuses as to why they couldn't attend college. Daycare (well if your in school you can get gree daycare through the province) Distance to school (Holland college has expanded their campusus to not only the charlottwon area) and so many other excuses. People just don't want to look for work year round/go to school after they get their hours.

  • The Facilitator
    May 24, 2012 - 13:29

    Great to hear of these changes. Hopefully this will help employers fill jobs and reduce the cost of EI for both Employees and Employers. Never could understand how this could be called "Insurance" when the frequent users paid the same premiums as those who never used it. If there are no jobs available then the EI cheques will keep on coming, but if there are jobs available why should a person, who is qualified and able, sit at home and collect pogey?

  • HS
    May 24, 2012 - 13:10

    Employment Insurance should be privatized. Get the government out of it.

    • fine
      May 24, 2012 - 23:21

      Fine, just give a choice whether i have to pay into it or not.

  • j
    May 24, 2012 - 12:54

    You should be very aware of this new legislation because it will effect everyone from the unemployed to the employed by driving down wages. How can it not when you are going to force people to work for 70% less. There are only 40% of Canadians receiving EI while 100% pay into the general revenue fund formerly known as an insurance fund only. It is not insurance anymore because too many are disqualified. Be careful of what you wish for, it might come back to bite you in the backside.

  • Jacinta
    May 24, 2012 - 12:31

    Same ole same ole tax grab for government. Only 40% use EI and 100% PAY IN!

  • Rooster
    May 24, 2012 - 12:28

    Leave it to the government to really screw things up. maybe it is me that knows too little, but a very easy solution to cut down on millions of EI dollars would simply be nobody should be able to collect EI if the family/household income is more than a set amount, such as $60 K for example. If your household income exceeds this amount and you try to collect EI and recieve EI benefits, you simply would have to pay it back at tax time. Don't make the poor folks suffer any more than necessary. But if one spouse earns $50 K and the other spouse earns $9 K for a seasonable job, then you could collect $1 K in EI, anything over that would simply have to be paid back. Is this not a solution.

    • frank
      May 25, 2012 - 08:55

      You're not actually serious, are you? That's much worse than the changes mentioned in this article.

  • SG
    May 24, 2012 - 12:27

    I find it interesting that the Provincial Statistics regarding claims in this report doesn't include PEI.

  • waldorf
    May 24, 2012 - 12:02

    SHES GONE BOY SHES GONE

  • Wayne MacKinnon
    May 24, 2012 - 11:58

    Only if the people of Canada allow them to make these changes,Canada is still a democratic country the last time I checked. We have not returned to rule by dictatorship.

    • CrazyTalk
      May 24, 2012 - 22:45

      Nope Wayne. You are mistaken. The moment Harper got a majority it became a dictatorship. This is a nightmare and we are only 1 year in.

    • NOT A DICTATORSHIP YOU SAY
      May 25, 2012 - 03:14

      What's that saying about if it walk, talks, like a duck, then ....?