The negative impact of proposed EI regulations

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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EI regions

Guest Opinion

Editor: Rather than dividing the Island into different zones when applying for EI, why not implement a special code for seasonal workers which wouldn’t matter where they lived. What you do and not where you live should be the biggest factor in determining how many weeks you need to work to qualify. What about all the unemployed workers who live in and around Charlottetown? They also  work in seasonal industries such as tourism, hotel, restaurants, highways, etc. They are either laid off or have major reductions in their work hours once the tourism season ends.  Where are they going to find new jobs if they can’t qualify for EI. Also, why under the new system, isn’t Summerside treated the same way as Charlottetown, as it is a city too.

These new proposed EI regulations will only contribute more to the rural-urban divide that already exists. P.E.I.’s unique seasonal industries will always mean that people who work in those jobs will most likely be unemployed in the off season. What will they do and where will they go, if they can’t access EI until they start work again? Under these new regulations the large number of Islanders leaving for out west and other regions to find full time work will only get much worse. What will that impact be in the future? Will employers be able to find skilled workers to work in our seasonal industries? I think that highly unlikely, so where do employers find workers in the future. Maybe they will have to import migrant workers, which usually means a great deal of expense, red tape and headaches. The employers sometimes have to pay for their transportation, housing and food in order to convince them to come here for work.  

If P.E.I. continues to lose more of its youth and young families to out-migration, our tax base will be eroded even more. An increasing elderly population means higher costs for government to deliver education, health and related social programs and services. P.E.I. provides many agriculture and fishery products to the rest of Canadians and the world. If we can’t find workers to harvest those resources, our exports will decrease and our industries will decline as well. These new proposals will enable some of our rural population to collect EI with fewer weeks but for other Islanders they are very unfair. The resulting consequences, once they are implemented, will negatively affect the Island in years to come. I think that more detailed studies and unbiased opinions from economists should be utilized to develop a fairer EI system for all Islanders in the future. Take politics out of the equation and apply fair, uniform procedures for EI. Those who can’t find enough qualified work hours, because of restricted seasonal employment opportunities, should be given special consideration for their unique circumstances but not just based on where they happen to live.

Mary Cudmore,


Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Dave
    March 25, 2014 - 21:46

    So, the seasonal workers who pay the least into the system should be entitled to more than those that pay a larger share? That is a terribly unfair proposition, and simply wrong .................In fact, the new rules are actually designed to combat exactly your attitude. EI is a Federal program, and it's purpose is not an income supplement and it was never intended to be. You'll be hard pressed to find many Canadians that agree with you that it is.............Finally, my son is a journeyman power lineman, he is a skilled worker. Seasonal workers are not. I learned to be a lobster fisherman's helper in days. Golf courses and other tourist and season industries use students to man the jobs. Why can't PEI?