Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Finley Says Conservatives Have Set Dollar 'Targets' for EI Fraud but Not Quotas

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Finley Says Conservatives Have Set Dollar 'Targets' for EI Fraud but Not Quotas

Article excerpt

Conservatives set dollar targets on EI fraud

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OTTAWA - Service Canada investigators have been given annual "performance objectives" to find $485,000 each in fraudulent or ineligible Employment Insurance claims per year, the Conservative government confirmed Monday.

However, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley vigorously denied that the targets amount to "quotas" -- something Finley assured the House of Commons earlier this month do not exist.

"There were no quotas for individuals," Finley maintained Monday after Montreal newspaper Le Devoir published government documents that showed the annual $485,000 figure for EI investigators.

"There are objectives, targets, to be sure. There's a big difference between the two when it comes to motivating and managing staff," said Finley.

Speaking in French, Finley noted that employees who don't reach their targets do not face "negative consequences."

The Harper government is under opposition fire amid a crackdown on EI claimants that includes sending government inspectors to people's homes and establishing annual dollar targets for EI investigators.

The practices were not announced by the government but came to light as a result of media investigations.

The crackdown comes at a politically awkward time for the government as it fends off a series of spending controversies in its own backyard, the Conservative-dominated Senate.

Conservative Senator Mike Duffy said Friday he'll pay back tens of thousands of dollars in housing allowance he received after claiming a cottage in Cavendish, P.E.I., was his principal residence. Duffy has lived in Ottawa since the 1970s.

Some senators' expenses are being audited and others are being questioned on their housing claims.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said the Conservatives are treating the unemployed like criminals while circling the wagons on their well-paid Senate appointments. …

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