Thousands protest EI reform with rally through downtown Montreal
A prostester oppsosing employment insurance reform wears a puppet head of prime minister Stephen Harper during a demonstration in Montreal, Saturday, April 27, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Published Saturday, April 27, 2013 2:51PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, April 27, 2013 3:21PM EDT
MONTREAL—Large crowds took over downtown Montreal on Saturday to protest changes made by the Conservative government to employment insurance.
Thousands of people snaked through the city’s streets to converge at the Place des Festivals after starting separate marches at Place du Canada and Parc Lafontaine at 1:30 p.m.
Police said there were no incidents to report, with traffic expected to be disrupted until at least 4:30 p.m.
The new EI rules, which came into effect in January, mean recipients must be ready to accept jobs farther from home and at less pay, while proving they are actively seeking work.
The protest was organized by Quebec’s coalition against employment insurance reform, which is made up of representatives from five labour unions and the two main organizations representing unemployed people.
Protests have been particularly vocal in Eastern Canada, where seasonal workers contend the changes will affect work opportunities. Workers must travel up to 100 kilometers to accept jobs that pay 70 percent of their previous hourly wage, which must not be below the provincial minimum.
Tune in to CTV News at 6 p.m. for full coverage, or follow @KGallagherCTV for updates from the protest.