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Delegates at CUPE Newfoundland’s 39th convention had a lunchtime excursion to a Service Canada office to protest the changes to the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program.

Today, fewer than 40 per cent of unemployed workers qualify for EI even though they are unemployed through no fault of their own.

As a result of the Conservative government’s 2012 omnibus budget (Bill C-38), it has become even harder to qualify for Employment Insurance especially for seasonal workers. The process of appealing the decision has also been changed to eliminate worker and employer seats on the appeals panels.

Seasonal workers – like those who work for many municipalities and school boards – are a vital part of local economies. The changes to EI will mean these skilled workers will not be available for recall by municipal and school board employers after regular seasonal lay-offs.

CUPE has been actively campaigning against changes to EI, with mounting protests in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, PEI and Newfoundland.