Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
October 5, 2011

CEIU, QFL attack decision to centralize EI processing in six Quebec locations

At a September 22 media conference in Rimouski, Quebec, CEIU and the Quebec Federation of Labour (QFL) hit out against the loss of EI processing jobs in Rimouski, New Richmond and Sept-Îles. Claimants are already experiencing long delays in their EI payments and the cuts will bring an even greater degradation of service levels.

In Quebec, EI processing centres will be cut from 25 offices to only six. Eastern Quebec and the North Shore will see 37 jobs lost in Rimouski, 28 in New Richmond and 18 in Sept-Îles. According to Quebec Federation of Labour representative Alain Harrisson, the cuts are killing the region and he promised that the battle against the centralization of claims processing is just beginning.

CEIU National Representative Sylvain Archambault emphasized that modern communications technology allows for EI claims processing to be carried out anywhere, a reality that clearly supports leaving jobs in smaller centres rather than centralizing them in a few hub offices. “Workers are just as productive there as elsewhere” said Archambault, “and they contribute to the local economy”.

Service to EI claimants is already suffering badly in the region, according to Archambault, who told Le Soleil “There are 30,000 backlogged files throughout Québec. Service Canada has lost control over its service offerings. Citizens are the victims. Before the cuts, a file review that should be performed within 21 days takes 181 extra days. This is unacceptable. Within Investigation and Control, 532 days are needed instead of 21.”

CEIU is mounting a national campaign, Better Services: Time’s Running Out! against the cuts to services and jobs planned by the Harper government. The action in Rimouski is a strong contribution to the campaign that is also underway at other locations in the country.

National President Don Rogers expressed his thanks to the CEIU Quebec region and the QFL for their excellent work in opposing the cuts and for getting the message out to the public in an effective way.

Marc Bellemare, Sylvain Archambeault, Alain Harrison, Gérard Bédard


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