Include fishing claims in EI extension

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Fishermen’s Union president Earle McCurdy is calling on the federal government to apply a recently-announced extension in Employment Insurance (EI) benefit periods to fishing claims as well as regular claims.

He said Ottawa should also amend the EI Act to provide flexibility to assist beneficiaries affected by natural conditions such as the intense ice coverage that is now virtually surrounding the Island of Newfoundland as well as the coast of Labrador. “This heavy ice coverage has the potential to cause extreme hardship for Newfoundland and Labrador families through no fault of their own,” McCurdy said.

He suggested the problem could be addressed without having to wait for time-consuming legislative changes if the federal government dealt with it through a pilot project, which the act makes provision for. “A good place to start would be to provide the extra five weeks for fishing claims, the same as they did for regular claims.”

The extra five weeks of benefit were initially available through a pilot project in areas of high unemployment only, but in response to the recent economic downturn, the federal government has now applied it to all regular EI claims. “The need is just as great for fishing claimants as it is for regular EI claimants,” McCurdy said. (Transcontinental Media/The Northern Pen)

Organizations: Employment Insurance, Transcontinental Media

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Ottawa, Island of Newfoundland

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