Thursday, February 27, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, February 27, 2013

House calls being made as part of EI audit

The federal government has begun visiting employment insurance recipients at home as part of an “examination” being conducted while the program undergoes an overhaul.

The majority of individuals selected for a random audit are receiving invitations, in person, to appear at their customary EI interviews as part of the project, which wraps up next month.

Some recipients are already on edge, given the changes to the program that have seasonal workers fearing their benefits might be cancelled. The union representing federal employees, meanwhile, says it’s concerned for the safety of its workers.

The federal government has confirmed the house calls, but says that Service Canada also attempts to contact people by mail and telephone.

“An examination to ensure the integrity of the employment insurance program is currently underway,” Human Resources Development Canada told The Canadian Press in an email.

Federal employees have been making the unannounced visits since January, and have been hand-delivering requests for people to appear at the regular EI interview.

About 50 federal employees have been assigned to the project.

The sample of 1,200 EI recipients has been randomly selected from across the country, according to the government.

“Every year, unfortunately, in our employment insurance system, hundreds of millions of dollars are identified or are lost through false or fraudulent or inappropriate claims,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at an event Thursday in Saskatoon. (Source: CBC News)