Overturn EI changes coalition urges

A coalition of P.E.I. labour and social welfare groups is calling on the federal government to scrap changes it has made to employment insurance.

P.E.I Coalition for Fair EI wants better benefits, cut in qualifying hours

A coalition of P.E.I. labour and social welfare groups is calling on the federal government to scrap changes it has made to employment insurance.

The P.E.I. Coalition for Fair EI has been holding town hall meetings across the province.

It says they have heard from families torn apart when one parent heads west to work. In some cases grandparents are left to raise the children, according to Leo Broderick, with the Council of Canadians.

"The people in these communities believe it is the policy of the federal government that it is to create this situation in Prince Edward Island to shut down communities so that they will have to go serve the oil patch in Alberta and Saskatchewan,” he said.

The coalition is not alone with their concerns. It is among 80 organizations nationwide that issued a joint statement urging to federal government to overturn the changes.

It also wants benefits increased to 60 per cent of earnings (based on the 12 best weeks), coverage lasting 50 weeks, and qualifying hours cut to 360 or 13 weeks.

The federal government says the changes have clarified rules to help people find work and the number of recipients is down. The government has also frozen EI premiums.

The Atlantic premiers have appointed a panel to look at the impact EI changes have had on the region.

The panel will be looking for public input on Nov. 18 in Tignish and Dec. 2 in Montague.

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