Seasonal workers in 13 regions get additional 5 weeks of EI

Seasonal workers living in select parts of Canada will be eligible for up to an additional five weeks of employment insurance under a new Liberal pilot project.

Government says it's targeting regions with higher proportions of seasonal claimants

Jean‑Yves Duclos, minister of families, children and social development, in a file photo. The minister announced the $189-million pilot project on Monday morning. (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press)

Seasonal workers living in select parts of Canada will be eligible for up to an additional five weeks of employment insurance under a new Liberal pilot project.

Jean‑Yves Duclos, minister of families, children and social development, announced the $189-million pilot project in Escuminac, N.B., on Monday morning. Multiple caucus members made similar announcements in their regions.

The government said it's targeting regions with "higher proportions of seasonal claimants to the total labour force and higher than average EI unemployment rates in 2017."

The selected EI economic regions include:

  • Bas-Saint-Laurent–Côte-Nord, Que.
  • Central Quebec.
  • Both the EI region of Charlottetown and the rest of Prince Edward Island.
  • Chicoutimi-Jonquiè​re, Que.
  • Eastern Nova Scotia.
  • Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Que.
  • Madawaska–Charlotte, N.B.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador (excludes capital).
  • Northwestern Quebec.
  • Restigouche–Albert, N.B.
  • Western Nova Scotia.
  • Yukon (excludes capital).

The additional five weeks of benefits will be available to eligible workers in seasonal industries who start a benefit period between Aug. 5, 2018, and May 30, 2020.

The government estimates 51,500 workers will be able to access the additional EI time.

Claimants would have to have had at least three claims in which they received regular or fishing benefits within the previous five years, and at least two of those claims would have to have started around the same time of year.

The government says it will also provide up to $41 million over two years to the provinces and territories for skills training, wage subsidies and employment supports for workers in seasonal industries. The funding will be through labour market development agreements.

Budget 2018 pledged $230 million over the next two years to support seasonal workers.

The previous Conservative government axed a similar pilot program in 2012, arguing it wasn't meant as a permanent fix.

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