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Workers in Quebec, Atlantic Canada hold rallies against Ottawa’s EI reforms

A man looks through jobs at a Resource Canada offices in Montreal in this file photo.


Demonstrations are being held across Quebec and parts of the Maritimes today to denounce the federal government's Employment Insurance reforms.

One union head, Michel Arsenault, says seasonal workers in the province's rural areas will be particularly hard hit by the changes.

Last May Human Resources Minister Diane Finley announced major EI reforms that are being phased in.

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The changes include an expectation that claimants accept any job for which they're qualified, within 100 kilometres of their home, as long as the pay is 70 per cent of their previous salary.

They must also prove they're actively seeking work.

Detractors of the plan say it unfairly targets Atlantic Canada and Quebec, where there are a number of seasonal industries such as forestry and fishing.

Finley issued a statement this week downplaying concerns, repeating that nobody will lose any benefits as long as they try to find a job and accept a reasonable offer of employment.

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