Ottawa put new employment insurance regime into effect early next month

OTTAWA – Ottawa is forging ahead with contentious changes to employment insurance, announcing an implementation date of Jan. 6, despite heated opposition from unions and MPs from eastern Canada.

Starting in the new year, people on EI will face stricter rules for keeping their benefits.

As Human Resources Minister Diane Finley initially announced last May, new regulations will encourage unemployed workers to take available jobs fairly close to home, even if they pay a bit less than their previous work.

Unemployed workers will also start getting government notices about available jobs in their local area.

Unions and opposition MPs say Ottawa is hurting seasonal workers and easterners, and will force people to take low-paying jobs.