|Councillor Thorkelson provided some|
background information on the current
Employment Insurance and welfare
issues facing city residents
Highlighting the troubles facing the regions commercial fishing industry, Ms. Thorkelson noted that the layoffs at the Canfisco cannery had come early this year, a situation which she described as a dire one for the community, with many of those who work at the cannery unable to access full employment insurance benefits, putting them in the situation where rents go unpaid and evictions are possible into the coldest months of the year.
She made note as to how the North Coast has the highest unemployment rate and welfare rates of the province, a situation that she believes is exacerbated by Prince Rupert being placed in the same catchment area as Fort St. John which has much lower rates.
As part of her presentation to Council, Ms. Thorkelson offered up some background as to how the current Employment insurance system is working, with the North Coast suffering from a weighted program that includes the labour picture of the North Coast with that of the more economically robust Northeast.
A prospect which regularly puts Northwest workers unable to claim EI owing to the nature of the way the current system is designed.
As Ms. Thorkelson explained to Council, that means that North Coast issues are not receiving the full attention of the Provincial and Federal governments, something that she noted is a concern that the local labour groups in the community are looking to address, with plans to make a presentation to Council in the coming weeks to provide more background on the issue and to move forward with plans to seek out assistance on their concerns from the new Federal government.
And while she noted that many of her comments are based on the nature of this years troubled fishing season and the impact that it has had on local shore workers and fishermen, the EI issues affect many in the community outside of the fishing industry.
You can review her full presentation to Council from the City's Video Archive, it starts at the twelve minute mark and continues for about ten minutes.
More background on Monday's council session can be found from our November 9th page.
For more items related to City Council discussions see our archive page here.