Where will the EI changes have the greatest impact? The Mowat Centre has been writing op/eds and analysis insinuating the impact will be greatest in Western Canada but if you read carefully – they say at the ‘individual’ level. I don’t particularly take issue with that conclusion but I think most of us are interested in the impact at the community or regional level. Because Atlantic Canada – particularly rural Atlantic Canada – is so dependent on the EI program, it would virtually impossible to conclude the overall impact of the changes will be greater in Alberta than in a place like New Brunswick.
In an upcoming commentary, I conclude:
“The Mowat Centre would be wise to come to Atlantic Canada and do a little more research into on-the-ground realities in the region. In New Brunswick, for example, decades of out-migration – particularly among young people in rural parts of the province – is leading to increasing shortages of workers in retail services, accommodation, food service and even transportation.
Under the old EI rules, workers in manufacturing, construction or primary industries would not have been required to take jobs in these other sectors. Now, under a strict interpretation of the rules, not only will they have to take these jobs but at as much as 30 percent lower wages than they earned before.”