EI reform study won't be ready until 2014

A study on how changes to employment insurance is affecting Atlantic Canadians is seven weeks late and there is no word when it will be completed.

Federal changes to employment insurance have sparked protests in Atlantic Canada

A report on the impact of EI changes is overdue by seven weeks and counting. 2:03

A study on how changes to employment insurance is affecting Atlantic Canadians is seven weeks late, and there is no word when it will be completed.

The consultation is part of a study into EI aimed at convincing the federal government to make changes. The Council of Atlantic Premiers announced it in the spring and called it urgent, but eight months later, the study remains a work in progress.

Brian Gallant, New Brunswick’s leader of the Opposition, wants to know why.

"We see this task force that has missed all of these deadlines. It doesn't give the sense that there's urgency and that there's a real priority when it comes to looking at the employment insurance impact," he said Monday.

The federal government announced significant changes to EI a year and a half ago. It sparked angry protests and appeared to have significant impact. 

Unemployment in New Brunswick in August jumped by 6,000 in two years, but 6,000 fewer people are receiving EI than two years ago.

Premier David Alward has said EI problems require the urgent study, but the study is still seeking public input. The consultation was supposed to happen in September so the report could be presented at a national premier's meeting in Toronto three weeks ago.

Alward said the EI study will be finished eventually, but couldn’t give a revised deadline.

The renewed call for feedback is taking submissions until the end of January, so the final report won’t come until after that.

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