Changes to the Employment Insurance program, announced by the federal government in the spring of 2012, will commence Monday, January 7, 2013.

Under the new rules, EI recipients may have to accept a job further from home than before, be willing to accept jobs that pay as little as 70 per cent of their previous salary, and to be more rigorous in their job searches.

Experts say the changes aren't massive, but should ensure that EI isn't viewed as the first option for someone out of work.

“They’re expecting people to look a little harder, a little further apart but not if there is a job in Vancouver and you live in New Brunswick you should take it,” says the Haskayne School of Business’ Norma Nielson.  “The pendulum seems to be swinging a bit toward fairness and away from the simple rule where the same rules apply to everybody.”

Labour experts say the new rules likely won't have much of an effect in strong economic markets such as Calgary.

Seasonal employers, such as those in the east coast fishing industry, are upset by the changes to EI.