POLITICS

New Brunswick concerned with lack of details from Ottawa on EI changes

07/30/2012 04:03 EDT | Updated 09/29/2012 05:12 EDT
FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government is complaining about a lack of details from the federal government on the impact of proposed changes to the Employment Insurance Program.

Labour Minister Martine Coulombe has written a letter to her federal counterpart following a provincial review conducted by a committee of senior civil servants.

Premier David Alward appointed the committee in late May to study the proposed changes to the program.

In the letter to Diane Finley, minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Coulombe said the most common concern of employees, employers, the general public and the provincial government is the lack of details.

"I therefore urge your department to hold information sessions across New Brunswick for long-tenured workers, frequent claimants, occasional claimants, employers and the public in general," she wrote.

Coulombe was on vacation Monday and unavailable for an interview.

Among the proposed measures, regular recipients of the EI program would have to consider lower paying jobs that could require a commute of up to an hour.

Coulombe said in the letter that employers are worried they could lose their skilled seasonal workforce.

"Increased costs could be incurred for recruiting, training and retaining new workers and loss of productivity is expected as new staff is integrated into the businesses."

Last month during their annual meeting in Prince Edward Island, all four Atlantic premiers stood together in calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to provide more information on the measures.

The premiers said they don't have enough information on the proposed rules and how they could impact the economies of their provinces.