A change to Employment Insurance that resulted in dramatic cuts to benefits for some fishermen was made in error, says the federal government.


A meeting with federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea helped sort out the Employment Insurance mistake, says Ian MacPherson. (CBC)

Fishermen claiming EI have found so far this year they haven't been allowed to combine fishing income with other income on the same claim. In previous years, combining those incomes was allowed.

"It had quite a dramatic effect, in many cases claims were cut in half. So it had a significant financial impact," said Ian MacPherson, executive director of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association.

"Obviously some concern because those funds are important for people to bridge the gap between times they're not working and the fishing season."

A statement from Employment and Social Development Canada says the change made in the spring was unintentional. It's in the process of reversing the change retroactive to April 7.

MacPherson said the Fishermen's Association met recently with Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, who is also P.E.I.'s representative in the federal cabinet, and he believes that helped bring about the reversal.

He's still waiting for official word that the change will be rescinded. He also wants assurances fishermen will be paid the money they've lost.