PEI

Charlottetown mayor wants to make EI zoning federal election issue

P.E.I. has been split into two zones since 2014. The switch, depending on where you live, means you have to work more hours to qualify for EI benefits than before.

'We're one island … we're one community. So we're one zone'

Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown says the issue of P.E.I. having two EI zones should be 'front and centre' in the upcoming federal election. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown says he is concerned about the federal employment insurance zones and hopes to make it an issue in the upcoming federal election.

Brown said the topic came up during a meeting with Stratford Mayor Steve Ogden and Cornwall Mayor Minerva McCourt on Monday.

P.E.I. has been split into two zones since 2014. The switch, depending on where you live, means you may have to work more hours to qualify for EI benefits than before the change.

"It's quite simple. We're one island … we're one community. So we're one zone. And that's an issue for the three municipalities because we're in the Zone 2. So claimants for EI require more weeks," Brown said.

Brown said while EI zones are a federal jurisdiction, it affects many residents in the three municipalities of Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall, and people running in the October federal election should keep residents of those areas in mind.

"Those same constituents are the same constituents that provincial and federal politicians will meet at the door when they go to the election."

2-zone system

Stratford, Charlottetown and Cornwall fall under the Charlottetown EI zone, which means workers need 665 insured work hours to qualify for regular EI benefits. If you fall under the Prince Edward Island EI zone, then you need to work 490 insured hours to qualify for regular EI benefits.

Brown said he is hoping officials from the municipal level, along with provincial officials will carry some weight with Ottawa regardless of who wins the next federal election.

"This has to be front and centre," Brown said.

He also said this issue affects many communities across the country.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Angela Walker

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