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MAY 21, 2010

Plan lays out deep cuts in EI jobs for Ontario

BRANTFORD, ON – Conservative government plans to slash processing centres for the unemployed across Ontario will hurt those Canadians who are already struggling in the recession. The Conservative government plan will shut down 15 EI processing centres across the province. This will leave a mere six “hub” locations to deal with the enormous backlog of EI claims in a province that has been racked with job losses.

New Democrat Candidate Marc Laferriere says the decision by the Conservatives to target EI jobs in the federal civil service shows a striking indifference to the economic impacts of the recession.

“Our region has been massively hit by job losses and lay-offs,” said Laferriere. “Stimulus money spent here was centred more on photo ops than job strategy and now, instead of helping the unemployed, we are watching the government close the doors to processing centres across the region.”

The government is looking to centralize all EI processing claims to six “hub” centres – Sudbury, Windsor, Kingston, Mississauga, Cornwall and York. But along the way, hundreds of staff will be let go. Over the next two years the Conservatives plan to shut down EI processing centres in: Brantford, Barrie, Peterborough, Hamilton, Niagara, Thunder Bay, Kitchener and Oshawa. By 2014 they will shut down 7 more.

“Either this government doesn’t understand or they don’t care,” said Laferriere. “The recession is not over in Ontario our local unemployment rate is proof of that. People need access to reliable service operations that are not swamped by cutbacks especially in Brant riding.”

Federal New Democratic EI critic Yvon Godin says the scale of the cuts will lead to increasing problems with processing of claims.

“The scale of these cuts is staggering. It’s as if the Conservatives are trying to walk away on Ontario’s unemployed.”

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