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The Conservative government’s omnibus budget (Bill C-38) changed much of the way the employment system will run. Overall, the changes will alter labour market pressures in favour of employers offering low wage jobs. As a result of this bill, it has become even harder to qualify for Employment Insurance (EI).

Further, the process of appealing the decision has been changed to eliminate worker and employer seats on the appeals panels. Even before the budget changes, fewer than 40 per cent of unemployed workers qualified for EI even though they are unemployed through no fault of their own.

This brief outlines some statistics (2010) on EI use and the size of the impact that these changes will have in different regions.

The impact of the changes will affect all workers, regardless of if they will receive EI benefits. This is because the changes to EI will put a downward pressure on wages across all sectors and regions.

However, certain regions and sectors that rely on seasonal or temporary workers will feel the effects more.