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2012 05 24
New restrictions leave more unemployed out in the cold
Despite a difficult job market, fewer Canadians than ever will qualify for EI.

OTTAWA – Today’s announcement to further restrict EI qualifications is just another example of bad news for Canadians hidden within the Conservatives’ Trojan Horse budget bill, according to the NDP. 

“The Minister has failed the most basic test of accountability when it comes to these new restrictions,” said New Democrat Finance Critic Peggy Nash. “Conservative Ministers have been making up a different story everyday and are simply mismanaging Employment Insurance. They didn’t even bother to consult Canadians, or the provinces, before announcing these arbitrary changes.” 

The changes will mean fewer people than ever will qualify for EI, more forced into lower wage jobs and others thrown onto provincial welfare. Additionally, the Minister still refuses to explain the changes, including what she means by “suitable employment.” 

“This government forgets that EI belongs to the employees and employers who paid into it, not to the Conservatives,” said NDP Employment Insurance critic Anne-Marie Day. “At the end of the day, the same minister who accused unemployed Canadians of wanting to stay on EI because its ‘lucrative’ is now saying: just trust me. Canadians don’t trust Conservatives to manage EI in a balanced way.” 

Today’s new EI restrictions come just a day after Canadians learned that the Human Resources Minister is refusing to provide Statistics Canada with key data about unemployment and EI effectiveness. 

“With less data, it will be even harder for us to know the actual impact of these changes. And the Conservatives’ Trojan Horse Budget bill gives substantial new powers to the Minister to arbitrarily change EI rules in the future,” said Nash. “It’s simply appalling to sneak these changes through in a budget bill.” 

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Thomas Mulcair