A western P.E.I. mayor has come out in support of a plan by the federal government to split P.E.I. into two employment insurance zones.

The change will make it easier for people outside the greater Charlottetown area to get EI benefits, and harder for those inside it.

O'Leary Mayor Stanley MacDonald told CBC News Wednesday the changes make sense. More people in rural P.E.I. work seasonal jobs, he said, and Charlottetown residents have more job opportunities.

"Definitely to our advantage to have these changes made. I think it's past due," said MacDonald.

"We weren't really being treated in rational way compared to other areas where there is a capital city, which was definitely done differently. Now this is going to be corrected this fall. Definitely a major help to us in the rural area."

Gail Shea, P.E.I.'s representative in the federal cabinet and the MP for Egmont, announced the change last month. Currently all of P.E.I. is in one EI zone. Effective Oct. 12, people living in the Charlottetown region will need to work 595 hours to get benefits, instead of just 490. People in rural areas in what will be the new P.E.I. zone, will need to work only 420 hours before they start getting benefits.

As hours of work on the claim increase, people in the new P.E.I. zone will continue to be entitled to more weeks of benefits than they currently are, and people in the Charlottetown zone fewer.

See how the system works on an interactive chart. Click here.

For mobile device users: Will the splitting of P.E.I. into two employment insurance zones improve the lives of Islanders?