Gerry Byrne wants to hear from constituents who have recently been denied employment insurance (EI) benefits for supposedly refusing to work outside of their hometowns.
“The whole situation surrounding the EI changes is outrageous,” Byrne, the Liberal Commons member for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, said in a prepared release on Monday.
The new rules, imposed on Jan. 4, require all EI beneficiaries to accept work if it is available within a one-hour commute of their residence. Failure to do so, according to the new regulations, would result in the loss of benefits.
Marlene Giersdorf, a 30-year-old single mother of Lower Montague, P.E.I. went public last week after her EI claim was cut off because she would not take a job in Charlottetown, which is 55 kilometres from her home.
Giersdorf said the fact that she didn’t have a car or any way to get to Charlottetown didn’t matter to the Service Canada.
“Throwing a single mother who has no transportation off of EI leaving her with no income is just plain cruel,” said Byrne. “It shows that there is little room in the new system to take personal considerations into account.”
Byrne is asking anyone who has received notice that they have been suspended from EI because of their supposed refusal to take work elsewhere to contact his office with the details at 1-800-563-9934, by email: email@example.com or fax their information to 709-637-4537.