Charlottetown to push for EI zone reversal

Although the new P.E.I. employment insurance zone rules caused some debate at Charlottetown council Monday night, the final vote was to ask the federal government to reverse its decision.

Completely reversing decision unfair to rural P.E.I., say half of city councillors

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee overturned a motion to defer a resolution asking the federal government to reverse its decision on new employment insurance zone rules. (CBC)
Although the new P.E.I. employment insurance zone rules caused some debate at Charlottetown council Monday night, the final vote was to ask the federal government to reverse its decision.

After some disagreement, council put forward a resolution requesting the federal government change its decision to divide P.E.I. into two zones where EI calculations differ between Charlottetown residents and those in rural areas.

Under the new rules, it's expected rural residents will have to work fewer hours to qualify for EI and could receive increased benefits, while the opposite will be true for residents in the Charlottetown area.

Half the councillors wanted to defer the resolution, saying that completely reversing the decision would be unfair to rural Islanders.

They said the resolution should be reworded.

But the motion for deferral was overturned by Mayor Clifford Lee and the resolution was passed.

"There's no reason to defer the resolution, you know," said Lee.

"Council is elected to make decisions and on this particular issue I don't think was a really complicated issue. Either you agree with the changes that were announced and the impact you're having on the residents of this city or you don't, and you vote accordingly."

Lee didn't say when or if the city had plans to sit down with the federal Minister of Employment Jason Kenney.

As it currently stands, the zones will come into effect by October.

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