Northern Saskatchewan’s seasonal workers are not included in a national pilot program to extend unemployment insurance.

Thirteen regions, mainly in eastern Canada, will see benefits lengthened five weeks.

New North CEO Matt Healy says the additional coverage would help a lot of northern families.

“It would provide five more weeks, in this case, five more weeks of relatively decent income, based on the hours and the wage that the workers were receiving during the summer months,” Healy said.

Healy says those working in forestry and wildfire management would be working during the summer and then looking for employment in the off-season or collecting EI.

The $189 million project is aimed at the East Coast fishery and would affect more than 51,000 workers. Twelve of the regions are in eastern Canada, with the 13th being the Yukon.

“The north, which has extremely high unemployment and a significantly high number of people who work on a seasonal basis, why the same kind of benefit extended to those living on the east coast would be applied to those in the north?” Healy questioned.

(PHOTO: Logging truck carrying wood. Courtesy NorSask Transport, Facebook.)