The Federal Government extended EI benefits by up to five weeks in areas of Canada with a strong need for seasonal workers. The pilot program, budgeted at $189 million, will help up to 51,500 seasonal workers in parts of Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and Yukon. Companies employing seasonal workers in the designated areas, and their payroll teams, should pay attention to designated areas.
“We know that some seasonal workers have long struggled to find sufficient hours of work to qualify for enough EI benefits to carry them through the off-season,” announced Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister of families, children and social development, at an event in Escuminac, N.B, August 20, 2018.
“Economic diversification and economic development are key to finding long-term solutions to help seasonal workers, but our government also understands that this is a pressing issue that requires short-term actions.”
Areas included in EI benefit boost
Thirteen areas sensitive to seasonal employment are included in the pilot, including western Nova Scotia, Madawaska, central Quebec, Charlotte in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador — but excluding St. Johns. The program runs from August 5, 2018, to May 30, 2020.
Minister Duclos explained the reason for the assistance, from the perspective of workers: “This means families will have more support to help them go through the winter. Today’s announcement will also help close the income gap and help give individuals and families the support they need when they need it most.”
The seasonal benefits are also beneficial for the most part to Employers. Employers and Payroll Managers will have to be aware of the changes to help facilitate benefits.
The list of areas receiving the extra benefits are:
2. Central Quebec
5. Eastern Nova Scotia
8. Newfoundland and Labrador (excludes capital city)
9. North Western Quebec
10. Prince Edward Island
12. Western Nova Scotia
13. Yukon (excludes capital city)
In addition to the regional restrictions, claimants would have to show they have previously had three claims for regular or fishing benefits within the last five years, and two of these should have been commenced at around the same time of year (to show seasonality.)
Additional benefits for all areas
Also, the government indicated it would also provide up to $41 million to all provinces (and territories) via the labour market development agreements, designed to boost wage subsidies, employment supports, and skills training for seasonal workers. This brings the total funding to $230 million.
Do you have any questions about these seasonal benefits, or any other Payroll Management question? Please use our form below.