News Canada

Seasonal workers will be protected by employment insurance, says Stephen Harper

By Kristy Kirkup, Parliamentary Bureau

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a news conference at Premier Tech Ltd. in Riviere-du-Loup, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a news conference at Premier Tech Ltd. in Riviere-du-Loup, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

OTTAWA - In a bid to clear the record during a storm surrounding Canada's employment insurance program, Prime Minister Stephen Harper insisted Thursday seasonal workers will have continued access to pogey.

"We will make sure they are protected," Harper said in Riviere-du-Loup Que. while protests played out across the province over changes to the financial assistance program.

Harper also claimed "misinformation" has been relayed about the government's plans to reform the program taxpayers pay into.

Reforms to the insurance program include a move to require EI recipients to trek up to 100 kilometres for work and a push for job seekers to take gigs related to their skill-sets, even if the work pays less.

New Democrats have vowed to launch a national campaign to hammer the federal government's approach. The party plans to table a number of petitions in the Commons soon. It also says NDP MPs have received at least 10,000 postcards to protest reforms.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has accused the feds of sending bureaucratic thugs door-to-door to check up on legitimate recipients.

"The question is what is going on now is against everything that we stand for in a democratic society," Mulcair told reporters Wednesday. "Sending the Harper Macoutes into people's homes on a systematic basis without the slightest indication that something is wrong was aimed at producing exactly this result."

Service Canada officials have insisted random house calls have been an ongoing practice and bureaucrats also connect with employers to touch base about EI recipients.

Kristy.Kirkup@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @kkirkup

Poll

Have you ever been on the pogey?


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »