Concerns raised about Bill C-30

Charlottetown Council and Senator Diane Griffin raise concerns about Bill C-30
Posted on 05/25/2021
The City of Charlottetown Council and Senator Diane Griffin are expressing concerns that unless amended, the Budget Implementation Act 2021, which would put the two-zone EI system into statute, making it more challenging to restore the one-zone for P.E.I.

On May 6 Senator Griffin raised concerns in the Senate that the inequity under two EI zones will start again once Covid related measures wind down in September. Afterwards, Islanders in the Charlottetown zone will receive less EI weeks than the rest of P.E.I.

“We have always been of the opinion that it shouldn’t matter where you live, the benefits extended for seasonal employees should be the same whether you reside in the Charlottetown area or any other region of the province. Bill C-30 could have lasting impacts that would make it even more difficult for City residents to access the same EI supports as residents of other communities, and we want to ensure that does not come to pass,” said Mayor Phillip Brown of Charlottetown.

“The original switch from one zone to two occurred in 2014 under a previous government. Presently the federal Cabinet can restore two zones with the stroke of a pen via regulations, but if Bill C-30 passes it will require a new act of Parliament. All we ask is that the Federal Government amend its bill in such a way so as to ensure Prince Edward Island is regarded as a single economic zone,” said Brown.

On Monday May 17, City Council voted unanimously to approve a draft resolution calling on Parliament to amend bill C-30 which is complementary to the City Council’s resolution calling on Cabinet to restore the one EI zone via regulations.

Senator Griffin, a noted proponent of one EI zone for Prince Edward Island, called on help from her Senate colleagues to examine this issue in a Senate committee as a matter of regional fairness in the same way the Senate routinely addresses concerns from larger provinces.

“This budget provides a rare opportunity to start to correct a flawed policy which impacts those who live in the zone named for Charlottetown, the birthplace of Confederation. Changing this policy ensures that the federal government treats an issue affecting P.E.I. with the same respect as an issue impacting a larger province.” said Griffin.

Mayor Philip Brown of Charlottetown will be presenting the case to the Senate National Finance Committee in the on Tuesday May 25 at 11:30 am in order to further impress the need for PEI to be regarded as one single economic region. He will be joined by Mayor Steve Ogden of Stratford and Mayor Minerva McCourt of Cornwall.

“Its important for us to keep the EI zoning issue at the forefront. PEI is smaller than most other independent economic regions in the country. It is only fair that we move forward as one, united province under one EI zone,” said Brown.

Todays Finance Committee proceedings can be streamed by following the link: