PEI

Thousands of P.E.I. workers to benefit from return of EI pilot project

The federal government announced a new pilot project Monday morning to provide an additional five weeks of employment insurance coverage for some seasonal workers.

Program similar to one shut down in 2012

Malpeque MP Wayne Easter made the announcement Monday morning. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

The federal government announced a new pilot project Monday morning to provide an additional five weeks of employment insurance coverage for some seasonal workers.

The government estimates 2,600 workers on Prince Edward Island will benefit from the program.

Malpeque MP Wayne Easter said the extended benefits are intended to support both seasonal workers and seasonal industries. 

"If the Employment Insurance system isn't enough that it provides them with an income for their families during the off-season, then those people may move out West or somewhere else," he said. 

$189 million has been allocated to implement the new pilot program.

The five additional weeks of EI support are available to eligible employees across the province. There's also new money for skills training and other employment supports.

'This is terrific'

The previous Conservative government cancelled a similar pilot program in 2012.

Kevin Mouflier, CEO of TIAPEI, says many people in the tourism industry could benefit from the program. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Kevin Mouflier, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., said he's "been hearing" about the adverse effects of that move for years.

"When in 2012 the regions were split up and and had different qualifying hours it became very much of a challenge for employers, and as workers it's always good news to get more qualifying weeks," he said. "So I think this is terrific."

Mouflier said there are about 17,000 people employed in the tourism industry on the Island and believes many of them will be helped by this announcement.

The program will be available to eligible workers who started a benefit program between Aug. 5 of this year and May 30, 2020.

The government estimates the program will benefit 51,000 workers nationally.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Jessica-Doria Brown

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