03/13/2013 05:53 EDT | Updated 05/13/2013 05:12 EDT

Hundreds protest cuts to Quebec welfare program

Hundreds of people staged protests in several cities across Quebec to oppose the provincial government's plan to toughen welfare rules.

Demonstrators gathered in Sherbrooke, Quebec City, Montreal and Trois-Rivières on Wednesday.

Some of the protesters in Montreal said the government is continuously picking on society's poorest people by cutting funds.

Under current rules, welfare recipients who are older than 55-years-old and people with children under the age of five are entitled to $129 each month.

The Quebec government announced that those funds will be slashed on June 1.

Quebec Labour Minister Agnès Maltais said it's not a cost cutting measure, but an attempt to stimulate the workforce.

She said the overall effect will help ensure that older people who are able to work get channeled back into the labour market and off welfare.