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NEWS: Major protest in Montreal against Harper’s EI changes on April 4

Changes to Employment Insurance that were adopted in C-38, Harper’s first omnibus budget implementation bill, came into effect on January 1.

The Montreal Gazette reports, “(These changes) include a measure requiring frequent EI recipients to accept jobs that provide 70 per cent of their previous pay packets, and also to accept new jobs that require a one-hour (100-kilometre) daily commute.”

Global Montreal adds, “The rules also mean more scrutiny over how diligently recipients are looking for work. EI recipients will have to look for work every day and keep detailed logs of their searches.” CBC News has also reported that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has “set national and regional EI enforcement targets, putting a dollar value ($430 million) on the quantity of improper payments it hopes to track down” by declaring recipients ineligible.

And earlier this year, 50 Service Canada employees began unannounced home visits to 1200 ‘randomly selected’ EI recipients.

In Quebec, the EI changes are being opposed by La Coalition québécoise contre la réforme de l’assurance-emploi. “Members include the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ); the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN); the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ); the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD); the Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec (SFPQ); the Mouvement autonome et solidaire des sans-emploi (MASSE); and the Conseil national des chômeurs (CNC).”

“A large public event has been scheduled April 4, in which high-profile Quebecers are expected to lend their support. …Various events around May 1, International Workers’ Day, are to be followed with a May 4 street demonstration also planned for Montreal.”