Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Easier access to EI for Canadian fishermen, as well as hourly workers on the horizon

Changes are in the works when it comes to qualifying for employment insurance for self-employed fishermen., as the Federal Government follows up on the March budget and prepares to introduce its new rules for Employment Insurance qualification later this month.

The shift in focus when it comes to EI issues by the Trudeau Government will bring to an end fishing regulations that date back to 1978, which had been put in place to reduce what had been described as a cycle of dependence and develop a significant attachment to the labour force before collecting EI.

Studies conducted by the Federal Government determined that the rules from close to four decades ago did not achieve their intended purpose and at times prevented workers from accessing EI funded training supports across the country.

North Coast Fishermen will be
reviewing the changes to EI
requirements as the fishing season
moves forward this summer
The new changes that are to be put in place will require self-employed fishermen to reach a lower insurable-earnings entrance requirement between $2,500 and $4,200 a significant reduction from the previous level of $5,500 in a qualifying period.

For those that receive an hourly rate and are looking to access the EI program change is coming as well.

There will be a reduction in the number of hours of insurable hours required to qualify for EI, with the new changes requiring  claimants to meet working hour entrance requirements from between 420 and 700 hours for regular benefits, that compares to the current requirement of 910 hours of insurable employment that is currently in place.

In addition to the planned change to the EI process, it was previously announced at budget time, that the EI waiting period of two weeks would be reduced to one as of January 1, 2017, while regular EI benefits for eligible claimants will be extended by five weeks  for long-tenured workers in Northern British Columbia.

Those changes were one of a number shifts in direction to mark the Federal government's answer to the increase to the unemployment rate in the region.

The full overview on the changes for 2016 can be examined here.

The current regulations related to EI applications for self-employed fishers can be reviewed here.

The heads up on the pending changes comes as Federal cabinet officials tour the east coast this summer to explore more concerns related to the Employment Insurance system.

EI enrolment soon easier for fishermen, as Ottawa scraps some requirements
Parliamentary report slams two EI zones

Last month Prince Rupert City Council passed a motion to invite Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc to come to the North Coast to discuss issues related to the fishing industry in the region.

Concerns over EI regulations have been frequently mentioned as a key issue from local union officials and could make for one are of discussion should the Minister take up the city on its invitation.

More items related to labour issues can be reviewed on our archive page here.

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