People in P.E.I. affected by changes to the employment insurance program have another chance to speak out about them.
The Atlantic Premiers’ Panel on EI will be setting up a consultation processes in the next few weeks to hear from Islanders.
Before the consultations, the P.E.I. Coalition for Fair EI will hold meetings in each county to give Islanders a chance to prepare for the Premiers’ Panel.
The community meetings will all start at 7 p.m. and are set for Monday, Oct. 28, in Rustico at the North Rustico Lions Club; Tuesday, Oct. 29, in Tignish at the Parish Hall; and Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Souris at St. Mary’s Hall.
The Coalition for Fair EI, along with many other Islanders, are concerned about the number of workers who should qualify for EI but who are being turned down.
They have little hope of appealing the decisions, noted Lori MacKay, chairwoman of the coalition.
“The new appeals system is unfriendly, and even threatening, for most who have the right to challenge the EI refusals.”
MacKay says, “Many families, who work hard to keep the Island economy going, are either already in terrible financial situations, or are living in dread. It is becoming more common for families to be split up with so many people going to Alberta for work. Island communities are feeling the results of losing people to the West.”
The Harper government’s employment insurance changes are having a dreadful effect on many regions of the country, added MacKay. The Atlantic region is especially at risk due to its seasonal economy.
The premiers have taken a united stand in favour of reversing the most damaging EI changes.
“It is important that Islanders speak up and give the Atlantic Premiers’ Panel the facts to make a strong case in Ottawa,” added MacKay.