Seasonal workers and their employers in Charlottetown do not know until the end of their work contracts whether or not workers will qualify to receive their federal employment insurance cheques over the winter. These qualifications change every month, mid-month: as a result, a worker and his employer can only discover after a seasonal contract has ended, whether the worker is eligible for employment insurance.
In other words, someone who has worked all season long, year after year, can suddenly find themselves ineligible to collect employment insurance. That worker may be denied employment insurance and forced onto provincial welfare through absolutely no fault of their own, despite the employee and employer having paid into the system as in previous years. They’ve effectively paid for nothing.
This results in economic instability in Charlottetown as well as tremendous mental and financial anguish for the workers and their families. As long as the federal government refuses to change this system, we urge the City of Charlottetown and any employer within Charlottetown, to ensure that all of its seasonal contracts contain language that guarantees the required number of weeks are achieved. Otherwise, the result will be further destabilization of the seasonal workforce and many more previously-employed people on welfare.
How can it be better, for anyone, that neither worker nor employer knows where they stand respecting employment insurance until after the end of their seasonal contract? How does this improve the stability of our society and encourage anyone to work?