Yesterday, September 26th, MP Lisa Marie Barron (NDP Critic for Fisheries, Oceans, and CCG) and MP Daniel Blaikie (NDP Critic for Employment and Workforce Development) jointly issued a letter to Ministers Diane Lebouthillier and Randy Boissonnault emphasizing the need for emergency supports for fishery workers in Newfoundland and Labrador that have endured a year of hardship only to have that exacerbated by recent EI changes. Their letter acknowledges that FFAW’s Economic Support Proposal, prepared and presented in June, was a fair and practical response to a difficult season for workers, and that so far, the Liberal government has not only failed to help, but by suddenly changing the EI eligibility criteria, they have made the problem worse.
The NDP has continued to express support and advocacy for fishery workers in Newfoundland and Labrador after FFAW initially met with MP Barron in June to discuss the Economic Support Proposal in Ottawa:
Following the devastating EI adjustment on September 10th, NDP candidate for St. John’s East, Mary Shortall, issued a media release in response to over 20,000 seasonal workers in Newfoundland and Labrador losing employment insurance benefits:
It is clear that the inflexibility and insensitivity of the EI system is doing more harm than providing a security net. FFAW-Unifor remains in consistent contact with officials in Minister Boisonnault’s and Minister O’Regan’s departments to relay the harsh impacts to membership as well as all seasonal workers in Economic Region 2 and pressure for intervention. Assurance has been given that a solution is being worked on, however, as we move towards the end of the third week since the latest adjustment, formal acknowledgement of the crisis and confirming that work on a solution is underway are overdue. FFAW will continue to communicate updates with membership.