Federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley is denying the provinces received no notice that a program providing extended employment insurance benefits was ending.
The Extended Employment Insurance Pilot Project provided an extra five weeks of benefits in areas of high unemployment across Canada. It was introduced in 2004, and last renewed in 2010. That renewal expired on Sept. 15.
P.E.I. Innovation Minister Allen Roach complained last week there was no notification from Ottawa that the pilot project was ending, but Finley said notification was given two years ago.
"Things were announced in 2010, and some people realized it, and some people didn't," Finley told CBC News Monday.
"It was announced loudly and clearly for everyone, but unfortunately a lot of us face a lot of things in a day, and we don't always get to remember everything that's been said."
A spokesperson from Allen Roach's office said it is true Finley announced two years ago that the program would be eliminated. Roach wrote to Finley in April, the spokesperson said, asking if the program would be renewed, but did not receive a response.
The spokesperson said Roach raised the question again at a meeting on Sept. 4 with MP Gail Shea, the province's representative in the federal cabinet. The spokesperson said Shea told Roach no decision had been made on renewing the pilot project.
The spokesperson noted while Ottawa put out news releases to say other pilot projects were being renewed, Finley's office did not release anything on the elimination of the EI program.