Seasonal Workers to Receive New E.I. Benefits

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 13:41



A Human Resources department official says northern Saskatchewan was one of the regions the government had in mind when it announced changes to E.I. benefits for seasonal workers yesterday.


Jay Wakelin says because northern Saskatchewan has a relatively high unemployment rate — seasonal workers who currently qualify for E.I. can expect to qualify for some additional weeks of assistance.


Wakelin says there are currently about 25-hundred workers in northern Saskatchewan that exhaust their E.I. benefits every year.


He’s not sure how many of those are seasonal workers, but they can expect to qualify for an additional 2 to 3 weeks of E.I. benefits up front, and possibly as much as 5 weeks.


He also says seasonal workers will earn an additional week of benefits for every additional week of work they perform over what they put in the previous season.


It used to take two additional weeks of work to qualify for another week of benefits.


Commercial fishers are currently the only self-employed seasonal workers that qualify for employment insurance.


Wakelin says the government is aware that trappers and wild rice harvesters would like assistance, too, but isn’t making any promises.