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Unions appeal to Canadian minister

Published: Thursday December 13, 2012 | 10:12 am Comments 0

Two Canadian unions have written to that country’s Minister of Human Resources and Skills, Diane Finley asking her to restore the benefits migrant workers lost due to changes made to the Employment Insurance scheme.

The changes came into effect on Saturday and will result in reduced benefits to migrant workers, including Jamaican farm workers.

Yesterday, the United and Food Commercial Workers Canada and Agriculture Workers Alliance wrote to Finley asking her to exempt the agriculture sector from the changes.

The unions argued that seasonal foreign agriculture workers contribute up to $25 million to the government revenue stream through premiums.

They are asking Finely to at least consider pushing back the date this new rule comes into effect to December 31, if she is unwilling to make the exemption they are requesting.

The unions say up to 301 workers will benefit if the date is changed.
Migrant farm workers have never been eligible for full benefits under the insurance system.

However, they had been able to access the special benefits for up to 35 weeks even if they were outside Canada during the off-season.

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