Quebec job advocates want government to reconsider Bill 70

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WATCH ABOVE: Advocates for job-seekers are accusing Quebec's employment minister of being out of touch and unsympathetic of people searching for work. Global's Raquel Fletcher explains – Sep 19, 2016

Advocates for people on social assistance are accusing Quebec Employment Minister François Blais of being out of touch and unsympathetic of people searching for work.

They argue Bill 70, if passed, could threaten to cut social assistance cheques in half if people don’t seek work through the government’s new Objectif Emploi program.

The Objective Dignity Coalition made its own proposal, claiming it has a better plan for social welfare reform than the government.

Instead of cutting welfare cheques, they argue people who participate in the program should be rewarded with a bonus.

They say this type of incentive is much less dangerous than the government’s plan, which they fear will lead to an increase in homelessness and poverty.

The current unemployment cheque sits at $623 a month and the government argues it plans to provide more resources to train people.

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The coalition said they agree with Blais’ plan to increase meetings with agents and do more evaluations of client skills and training, but sanctions are unfair and ineffective.

“People who are not able to meet the demands or are able to participate enough [in] this program will have their cheques reduced,” explained Yann Tremblay-Marcotte, a spokesperson for the coalition.

“Usually, it’s the people who have more difficulties in life. So, these people will have less chance to get a job later on.”

Tremblay-Marcotte added the coalition has been asking to meet with Blais for months.

The employment minister’s press secretary told Global News that Blais has no plans to consider the coalition’s proposal.

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