By Kassandra Gavin-Henry
Jan. 22, 2015
Malpeque MP Wayne Easter says the employment insurance system must be overhauled to make sure it works for everybody.
Fred Dunsford, an in-coastal oyster fisherman couldn’t agree more.
Last summer Dunsford found he needed more catch to get his usual employment insurance.
“A lot of fishermen in the Charlottetown region are having a harder time.”
Easter said seasonal industries are suffering.
He said the changes have hurt productivity and business on the Island, especially those who live in the Charlottetown zone, who need more hours and receive less benefits.
“We need to completely look at the system and make sure it works for everybody.”
Dunsford finds it harder to work at a part-time job in the winter, saying it leaves him with less money, and travel expenses add up.
“Unemployment isn’t enough, a part-time job is almost not worthwhile.”
A lot of fishermen don’t have the advantage of getting a part-time job, either, says Dunsford.
“For us to go out and get a full-time job, we either have to give up fishing or change jobs completely.”
Dunsford said a lot of fishermen he has worked with have left the Island to work in Alberta.
“It doesn’t make the decision to stay home any easier.”
Easter said employment insurance needs to be changed for the economy, 60 per cent of people who are working no longer qualify.
“I think the time for tinkering has passed.”