Federal Government Announces EI Changes for Seasonal Industries
In late August, the Government of Canada rolled out changes to the employment Insurance (EI) system aimed at addressing the serious challenges faced by workers in seasonal industries.
The Federal Government said it would invest approximately $189 million to implement a new pilot project to provide up to five additional weeks of EI support to eligible workers in seasonal industries in 13 targeted regions. The additional five weeks of benefits will be available to eligible workers in seasonal industries who start a benefit period between August 5, 2018 and May 30, 2020.
It also said it would provide up to $41 million over two years to all provinces and territories through Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) to provide skills training, wage subsidies and employment supports for workers in seasonal industries.
Through the new pilot project, an estimated 51,500 workers in seasonal industries will benefit from the extra weeks of EI.
Aquaculture Review Board Website Launched
Nova Scotians can follow the work of the independent Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board, established as part of government’s approach to regulating the aquaculture industry, with a website launched August 13.
The board is an independent body that will make decisions on aquaculture applications for new sites in marine areas, for expansions of existing sites and for the addition of finfish species to sites not currently approved to produce finfish.
“We’re pleased to see the review board taking on this important independent responsibility,” said Keith Colwell, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
“The ability to properly regulate the aquaculture industry is a priority for government because it contributes to sustainable growth in an environmentally sound way.”
The board will hold hearings in communities located close to areas where applications are made for aquaculture sites. Information about the hearings will be posted on the website.
The website also provides information on how the public can participate in matters before the board and outlines the process of covering adjudicative proceedings for media.
Within 30 days of a hearing, the board will issue a decision that will then be made public and posted on the website.
More information is available at https://arb.novascotia.ca .
Outrage Over Project Investment
Northumberland Fisherman’s Association (NFA) President Ronnie Heighton said he is outraged that the Nova Scotia Government has provided $6 million to Northern Pulp for design of its proposed new effluent treatment facility.
“This proposal puts our industry at risk,” says Heighton. “Our fishing organizations requested meetings with the provincial Minister of Environment for months and he would not meet with us. We asked for information from the department two months ago and received nothing. Now we find the government has funded the project to the tune of $6 million in the last year. This stinks worse than a barrel of rotten fish.”
“It’s beyond belief that the same government that is funding a plan to discharge 70-90 million litres of pulp effluent daily into our prime fishing grounds in the Northumberland Strait thinks they can conduct a fair and unbiased environmental assessment,” Heighton added.
Jill Graham-Scanlan, President of Friends of the Northumberland Strait (FONS) agrees.
“If it wasn’t clear before, it’s certainly clear now,” Graham-Scanlan says. “The federal government needs to step up and take on the environmental assessment of this project, as we and 5,000 others have requested.”
Graham-Scanlan says the provincial government cannot expect citizens to trust their ability to conduct an unbiased environmental assessment when they are funders and potentially owners or partners in the project. “The livelihoods of thousands of fishing families, now and in the future, are on the line,” says Graham-Scanlan.
In March, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Renewal (TIR) Lloyd Hines told CBC that ownership of the facility was still to be determined. When asked who would be paying for the facility, Hines stated, “…we look at partnering, we look at sharing liability, we look at reasonable partners who want to reach an objective who want to get things done.”