In an effort to aid workers in seasonal industries who have used all of their employment insurance (EI) benefits, Quebec has launched a pilot project in partnership with the federal government.
On May 17, the two governments signed a transfer agreement of $6.4 million for the Quebec government to provide training and financial support to seasonal workers and businesses. The funding is part of the commitment announced in the 2018 federal budget.
The effort aims to improve training benefits and provide financial support equivalent to the EI benefits workers were receiving. Businesses who extend their workers' employment period for training will also receive financial support.
Seasonal businesses can have all eligible training expenses reimbursed, including employees' wages up to $20 per hour, to enable seasonal workers to take part in business training before or after operating season.
Accordingly, participating workers will receive wages for a longer period, which will delay the start of their unemployment period and eventually giving access to more weeks of EI benefits.
"Our government recognizes the concerns of workers in seasonal industries and the real challenges some face in the off-season from the loss in income, especially due to the decline in unemployment rates and the resulting decrease in entitlement for employment insurance benefits," said Remi Masse, MP for Avignon-La Mitis-Matane-Matapedia.
The agreement ensures concrete measures will be put in place, said Quebec Employment Minister Francois Blais.
"Seasonal workers will be able to take training while receiving an income and seasonal businesses will benefit from support to prolong their employment relationship with their employees by developing their skills," he said.
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