POLITICS

Some EI administrators 'not comfortable' with changes

01/16/2013 09:12 EST | Updated 03/18/2013 05:12 EDT
The union representing federal government workers who have to enforce the new employment insurance policies says some of its members are also negatively affected by the changes.

The Public Service Alliance deals with the public about the changes. It says many of its members are directly impacted by the new employment insurance rules because they also work in part-time or seasonal jobs.

Jeannie Baldwin, regional executive vice-president, said her members have no choice but to implement the changes even though they might oppose them.

"You have to remember that our workers don't make these decisions. These decisions currently are being made by the Harper government and now they are asking, of course, our employees to enforce these changes," she said.

"All people that work with the federal government provide services to all Canadians and now you have this Conservative government that is making changes and forcing people to do things that we are not comfortable with."

Many of the employment insurance processing positions were eliminated in a recent round of federal job cuts, said Baldwin.

She said stress levels are on the rise in her workplace.

Misinformation on social media

Meanwhile, Egmont MP and federal cabinet minister Gail Shea said she is getting a flood of calls from people in her riding concerned about the changes.

She said that's because people don't understand the new employment insurance policy or have misinformation about what they are required to do under the new rules.

"There is a lot of information — on social media in particular — that is not the correct information. People are wondering, you know, do they have to look for work every day? Do they have to knock on the same door of the same business every day? Absolutely not," she argued.

"They are required to do a reasonable job search. In an area like mine, it could mean as much as going online or getting the job alerts or reading the newspapers. So it has to be reasonable. You have to show that you are looking for work."

Canadians who are looking for work while claiming employment insurance saw several changes in early 2013.

Claimants can now sign up for a new job alerts system that will see job postings from a variety of sources emailed to subscribers twice a day.

Other measures include changes to the definitions of "suitable employment" and "a reasonable job search."