OTTAWA (NEWS1130) – The federal government is tightening Employment Insurance eligibility with new rules on what kind of work jobless Canadians will need to accept in order to receive benefits.

The government says it will put strict definitions on what constitutes “suitable employment” and what the unemployed must do to find a job in order to get off EI.

The changes means Canadians will be treated differently, depending on how often they have collected EI benefits in the past, or how long they have currently been receiving benefits.

For so-called long-tendered workers who have been mostly employed the past 10 years, they need to accept a job within their usual occupation as long as it pays at least 90 per cent of their previous hourly wage.

However, the worker must become less choosy and willing to take a lower-paying job  — within 80 per cent of their previous pay — after 18 weeks being on the system.

For frequent EI claimants, the rules will be far stricter, says the government.