09/24/2012 08:22 EDT | Updated 11/24/2012 05:12 EST

EI Change Needs Reboot, MP Says Report Shows


Liberal P.E.I. MP Wayne Easter is hoping the federal government will reconsider its changes to Employment Insurance after a report he commissioned showed many will be worse off than they were.

The Malpeque MP will try to table his report, prepared by the non-partisan Parliamentary Information and Research Service, on Monday.

"I hope it wakes the minister up and Stephen Harper up in that this is actually hurting individuals, that they realize there's problems here and change the system," said Easter.

The report examines six hypothetical EI cases prepared by Easter. He said they are based calls he received from his constituents. In every case, the recipient is worse off under Ottawa's new rules. Easter said the results came out even worse than he was expecting.

Conservative MP Gail Shea, P.E.I.'s representative in the cabinet, said she is also getting calls from her constituents in Egmont. Some are for and some against the changes, she said.

"Yes, some will be earning less, and we have passed those concerns onto the minister," she said.

Last week Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said the new rules are part of a pilot project and they could change.

A spokesperson for the government noted the goal isn't to make sure EI recipients earn as much as they did under the old system, but rather to make sure Canadians are always better off working than not working. The new system eliminates a cap on earnings, but begins clawing back earnings from the first dollar earned.

In addition to tabling Easter's report, the Liberals also plan to call for an emergency debate on Employment Insurance.

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