Nova Scotia

Oil price drop worries Cape Breton workers waiting to return west

Cape Breton workers who make a living in the oil patch out west are wondering how low oil prices are going to affect their employment.

'Try going from $3,000 to $4,000 a week, to your maximum EI,' says Tammy Marshe

Jamie Evans is back home from Alberta on Christmas break and he's hoping the drop in oil prices won't cost him his job. (CBC)

Cape Breton workers who make a living in the oil patch out west are wondering how low oil prices are going to affect their employment.

Jamie Evans is back home from Alberta on Christmas break. He's hoping the drop in oil prices won't cost him his job.

"I just got back about a month ago from a scheduled shutdown," he said Monday.

"I am scheduled to go back in about two months and from what I hear, if oil prices don't go back up, we may not be going back at all until they do rise back up."

Tammy Marshe, with the New Waterford Employment Resource Centre, said it's a tough position for a family to be in.

"Try going from $3,000 to $4,000 a week, to your maximum EI — whatever that may be at this time — and you will start to feel the crunch," she said.

Marshe said oil price fluctuation is something she has seen many times in the 15 years she has been with the centre.

"This will be the third cycle that I have seen where oil has dropped and jobs have been put on hold or not called back or whatever," she said.

"But it always seems to pick itself back up and that's what we hope it will do by the first of February."

While Evans waits for oil prices to bounce back, he has decided to find work at home to make ends meet until the call comes to return out west.

"Basically provide a living for my family," he said. "That's my No. 1 bread and butter, but if you can't rely on it with the oil prices the way they are, you have to look for alternative measures."

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