Lawrence MacAulay, Liberal MP for Cardigan, says it will be 'very difficult for some people.' (CBC)

An estimated 8,000 Canadians could be cut off from employment insurance benefits under strict federal regulations that require claimants to prove they're looking for work.

Starting Jan. 6, anyone who's on EI with a regular claim or a fishing claim will have to show that they're actively searching for employment.

"Documenting that they've been to a job fair, have talked to employers, potentially even look for training that could upgrade their skills, those are all examples of what Service Canada will look for," said Alyson Queen, director of communications for the federal minister of human resources and skills development, Diane Finley.

Claimants will also have to accept job offers for lower pay, or risk losing their benefits.

According to government documents, released Wednesday, the federal government estimates that 8,000 Canadians will be cut off under the new system, unless they show they're doing everything required to find a job.

The extra monitoring required is expected to cost more than $7 million a year.

'The federal government just doesn't recognize what seasonal employment is all about' — Al Roach, P.E.I. minister of innovation

At the same time, the federal government expects to pay out less money in EI claims, resulting in savings of about $33 million a year.

"They're going to hire more investigators. The problem is, people have to live and it's going to be very difficult for some people," said Lawrence MacAulay, the Liberal MP for the riding of Cardigan in P.E.I.

"The federal government just doesn't recognize what seasonal employment is all about," said Al Roach, P.E.I.'s minister of innovation.

The new regulations are expected to lead to more EI appeals.

The federal government says wait times are already too long, so it's streamlining the process to speed things up. However, some critics argue those changes will actually slow things down even further.