CHANGES TO EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WILL IMPACT NORTH: "A Nail in the Coffin for Seasonal Industry"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SNOW LAKE, MANITOBA - Recent federal changes to EI are set to have a disproportionate impact on Northern seasonal workers and Northern communities.

Niki Ashton MP (Churchill) spoke out against recent changes to EI and the impact they will have on Northern seasonal workers and Northern communities.  "Seasonal industries, such as fishing, trapping and forest firefighting provide critical employment for Northerners and Northern First Nation and Métis communities. Harper's Government is threatening to take these livelihoods away," said Ashton.

The Minister of Human Resources has indicated that there will be a clamp down on "repeat" applicants to Employment Insurance, a description that includes seasonal workers.  Current changes will mean fewer people than ever will qualify for EI, more forced into lower wage jobs and others thrown into provincial welfare.

Additionally, the Minister still refuses to explain the changes, including what she means by "suitable employment."

Such changes to EI threaten the existence of Northern economies.  Fishing is at the backbone of a number of Northern Manitoba communities.  Leslie Dysart, a fisher from South Indian Lake said, "These changes to EI are just another nail in the coffin for seasonal industry, which is a large part of the northern economy.”

"Northern Manitobans have made great efforts to diversify our economy. These changes turn the clock back and will impoverish communities that already struggle. It's simply appalling to sneak these changes through in a budget bill," said Ashton.

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