Creating two zones would mean people in the Charlottetown region would have to work more hours than they do now to qualify for EI, while people in the P.E.I. region would need to work fewer. This worries the tourism industry association.

The Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. says it has concerns about how changes to the way employment insurance is managed in the province will affect seasonal workers.

This week Egmont MP and federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said P.E.I. will be split into two zones for the purposes of calculating EI.

As a result, 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.

Don Cudmore, executive director of TIAPEI, said he's worried about workers in the capital region.

“There's a lot of tourism operations, they do hire and lay off at particular high points in their season and low points in their season. So what about all those employees? Are there less benefits available to them? That is a concern of our organization, it's a concern of the tourism sector it has to be,” he said.

Cudmore said tourism businesses have been losing employees. Some have left to work out west, he said, and others have taken lower-paying, year-round jobs in other industries.

Cudmore said he is pleased that government seems to be acknowledging EI reform is hurting seasonal industries.

Shea, the province's representative in the federal cabinet, announced on Thursday the changes would come into effect Oct. 12.