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A coalition of regional community-based committees is challenging conservative MPs to organize public meetings to explain the Employment Insurance (EI) reform to the thousands of New Brunswickers affected by the latest cuts.

Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Diane Finley and the New Brunswick conservative MPs are pretending that these changes are in the best interest of workers, employers and our communities,” said Patrick Colford from the Miramichi regional committee.

We are asking them to take their responsibilities and to organize their own public meetings throughout the province. We are also asking the federal government to publish a public document which would explain, in clear language, what will be the impacts of these changes on workers and their communities,” said Colford.

The coalition of regional committees wants the federal government to sit down with labour and employers, those who are funding the EI Program, to discuss changes that will really benefit workers, businesses and communities.

It is astounding that such sweeping changes were made, through an omnibus budget bill (C-38) without any consultations,” added Pauline Richard from the Kent North regional committee. “It is obvious that the federal government and our federal MPs are out of touch with our reality.”

The reality of New Brunswick job market is that the province lost 7,600 full-time and part-time jobs since 2008. Between January 2012 and October 2012, there was a monthly average of 35,720 unemployed workers in the province. In the same period, there was a monthly average of 3,830 job vacancies,” added Richard.

In other words, for every 1,000 unemployed worker, there were around ten jobs available. The situation is worse in the winter months. The reality of the job market is that part of our economy is rural and work is seasonal. The real problem is the lack of available jobs and not workers.”

This EI reform will not only hurt New Brunswick workers and their families but will also have a negative impact on the province’s finances. According to the Department of Finance, a 10 per cent reduction in EI beneficiaries would result in a loss of 800 jobs by 2016 and a $100 million to the province.”

  • For a list of regional committees and more information, please visit the CUPE NB website