Ottawa ignores West Coast, again

PRINCE RUPERT- Nathan Cullen (Skeena- Bulkley Valley) said this week's federal announcement that gives regions in Quebec , Yukon and the East Coast a 5- week extension of Employment Insurance (EI benefits) is good news,  but abandons shoreworkers and fishermen here on BC's North Coast.

"Once again, the West Coast is conveniently forgotten by this government, in particular the North Coast fishing industry and our families who count on the government to make good policy decisions", said MP Nathan Cullen.

"Fishing families equally need, want and deserve  a similar 5- week extension, as well as other supports to ensure sufficient hours and earnings to qualify for EI benefits."

Employment for fishermen and shoreworkers on the North Coast is severely limited due to a late start to the season and area licensing which restricts fishermen's ability to work throughout the region.  This combined with a severely outdated EI system that does not account for today's precarious fishing industry, is crippling families economically and emotionally.

Larger reforms are needed, such as reducing the hours for eligibility as well as the earnings required to establish an EI claim. The government needs to start by extending the 5-weeks of additional EI to other regions such as the North Coast. These people are fighting on two fronts: unfair employment insurance and a mismanaged fishing industry that sees fish get shipped off and processed somewhere else.

"This government must step up to the plate and do the right thing and fairly implement the 5-week EI extension to the west coast, not just to Liberal leaning regions of Canada"


Contact: Joshua McLeod, 250-622-2413,