Government of Canada announces new supports for workers in seasonal industries

News release

August 20, 2018             Escuminac, New Brunswick             Employment and Social Development Canada

Workers in seasonal industries are an important part of Canada’s growing economy. Yet not all Canadians have benefited from the near record low unemployment, and in certain regions there are gaps in support from the Employment Insurance (EI) program.

Today, at a fish plant in Escuminac, the Honourable Jean‑Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced changes to the EI system that will address the serious challenges faced by workers in seasonal industries. The Government of Canada will:

  • invest approximately $189 million to implement a new pilot project to provide up to five additional weeks of EI regular benefits to eligible workers in seasonal industries in 13 targeted regions. The additional five weeks of regular benefits will be available to eligible workers in seasonal industries who start a benefit period between August 5, 2018 and May 30, 2020; and,
  • provide up to $41 million over two years to all provinces and territories through Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) to provide skills training, wage subsidies and employment supports for workers in seasonal industries.

Through the new pilot project, an estimated 51,500 workers in seasonal industries will benefit from extra weeks of EI, including an estimated 7,000 workers in New Brunswick. In addition, the Government of Canada will continue to work with the Province of New Brunswick and other provincial and territorial governments to review the EI system with the goal of modernizing income support for workers.

Today’s announced support is part of the Budget 2018 commitment to provide $230 million to assist workers in seasonal industries. Through Budget 2018, the Government of Canada also provided immediate support this year to affected workers in seasonal industries through a $10 million reallocation of existing resources. In addition to today’s announcement, the Government of Canada will continue to work with the province of New Brunswick to address challenges faced by workers in seasonal industries.

Quotes

“The Government of Canada is making significant investments to support workers in seasonal industries. Today’s announcement will mean that an estimated 51,500 workers in seasonal industries across Eastern Canada and Yukon will have access to additional support.  I know the initiatives we’ve announced today will have a positive impact for workers in seasonal industries right here in New Brunswick and across the country.”

– The Honourable Jean‑Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is committed to reviewing and modernizing the EI system to reduce the number of workers left without an unemployment safety net.

  • The EI economic regions targeted for the additional five-weeks are those with higher proportions of seasonal claimants to the total labour force and higher than average EI unemployment rates in 2017.

  • The Government has recently introduced measures to improve EI so that more Canadians, including workers in seasonal industries, get the help they need, when they need it, including:

    • eliminating the EI requirements that restricted access for workers who were entering or re-entering the labour market;
    • simplifying job search responsibilities for EI claimants through the reversal of the 2012 changes that specified the type of jobs that unemployed worker were expected to search for and accept; and,
    • making permanent the 50-cents-on-the-dollar Working While on Claim rule and extending it to maternity and sickness benefits (came into force on August 12, 2018).
  • Through Budget 2017, the Government expanded eligibility to help more Canadians access skills training and employment assistance under amended LMDAs, including:

    • investing an additional $1.8 billion in LMDAs over six years, from 2017-18 to 2022-23;
    • broadening eligibility for Employment Benefits (e.g. skills training, wage subsidies) to include unemployed individuals who have made minimum EI premium contributions in at least 5 of the last 10 years;
    • expanding eligibility for Employment Assistance Services (e.g. employment counselling, job search assistance), previously only available to unemployed Canadians, to also include employed Canadians; and
    • increasing flexibility for provinces and territories to support employer-sponsored training under Labour Market Partnerships (e.g. to help employers who need to upskill or retrain their workers in order to adjust to technological or structural changes in the economy).

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Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Michael Brewster
A/Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
819-654-5546

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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