05/22/2013 02:05 EDT | Updated 07/22/2013 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia premier says prime minister's defence of EI reforms lacks evidence

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter says comments by the prime minister defending employment insurance reforms won't stop Atlantic premiers from fighting to have the changes put on hold.

Stephen Harper said last week misinformation surrounds claims that the new rules are harming seasonal workers or forcing them to leave Atlantic Canada.

Dexter said Wednesday that Harper and federal officials haven't shown the premiers any evidence to back up his statement.

The four Atlantic provinces will proceed with plans to appoint a panel to look at the impact of the federal changes, he said.

The premier said the goal is to provide the federal government with evidence showing the impact of the EI changes.

"We are trying to say, 'You didn't do the consultation, you don't understand the affects of it, here's us doing something positive to show you the data, to show you the information that we have, in order to allow the federal government to make a better decision,' " Dexter said in an interview.

Under some of the new rules, those who frequently claim EI need to prove they're actively seeking work.

Workers must also accept a job within 100 kilometres of their home as long as they are qualified and the pay is at least 70 per cent of their previous salary.