***UPDATED: Qualifying for E.I. still a challenge for Northeast N.B. seasonal workers
Updated: 12 July, 2018
Qualifying for Employment Insurance continues to be a challenge for seasonal workers in Northeast New Brunswick, despite a promise by Acadie-Bathurst MP Serge Cormier to fix the situation.
As of July 8th, workers need to log 525 hours in order to receive 21 weeks of E.I., while only 420 hours were required to receive 30 weeks of benefits back in 2016.
The problem is due to a drop in the unemployment rate in the Restigouche-Albert economic regions.
Action Committee on Employment Insurance for Seasonal Workers in the Acadian Peninsula's Fernand Thibodeau tells the Acadie-Nouvelle that the inaction of political representatives is disappointing.
Cormier, meanwhile, says seasonal workers are a vital part of Northeast New Brunswick's economy and that the federal government will not see them go without Employment Insurance benefits.
He says he will continue working with his government colleagues and stakeholders to find a permanent solution to the region's E.I. woes so that they have the least impact possible on workers and their families.
Cormier says Ottawa has earmarked $240 million to help seasonal workers who fail to qualify for their benefits.
He says finding a permanent fix can take time but expects a proposed solution to be announced soon.