For Immediate Release
Employment Insurance Amendments
On March 31, 2016 the Federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, announced amendments to Employment Insurance (EI) that will benefit Saskatchewan workers. The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) believes that these changes will assist those experiencing unemployment due to the current economic decline.
The changes highlighted include eliminating barriers to accessing EI, reducing the waiting period to one week, reversing amendments made in 2012 that required workers to travel for lower paying jobs, doubling the length of work-sharing agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks, reducing EI premiums to $1.61 by 2017 and providing an additional 20 weeks of regular EI benefits to long tenured workers in 12 affected regions, including northern Saskatchewan, and regular benefits for EI will be extended by 5 weeks, up to a maximum of 50 weeks.
“The changes announced address some of our concerns and will surely benefit those that are able to access the new programming,” said SARM President Ray Orb. “While these are important and positive amendments that will help Saskatchewan workers, we do have some concerns.”
SARM is concerned that only certain regions have been selected as eligible to benefit from the amendments. The addition of 20 weeks of regular EI benefits to long tenured workers will only be implemented in 12 affected regions, which include Northern Saskatchewan but no other regions of Saskatchewan.
“I understand that these amendments have been made based on the statistics available, but it is concerning that other regions of Saskatchewan that are negatively affected by the economic downturn will not be receiving the EI changes at this time,” said President Orb.
Ultimately, SARM is hopeful that these changes will provide benefits to those workers that are able to access them and that the economy, specifically the energy sector, will soon begin to improve.
For more information please contact:Jay MeyerExecutive Director(306) 761-3721