3 P.E.I. municipalities asking for single EI zone ahead of federal election

Some municipalities in P.E.I. are asking the federal government to look into EI zoning for the province ahead of the October 12 federal election.

Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown, Stratford Mayor Steve Ogden, and Cornwall Mayor Minerva McCourt are joining together to express their desire for the Island to return to one EI zone. 

P.E.I. has been split into two zones since 2014. The switch, depending on where one lives, means an applicant might have to work more hours to qualify for EI benefits.

Charlottetown and Cornwall fall under the Charlottetown EI zone, which means workers need 665 insured work hours to qualify for regular EI benefits. Portions of Stratford fall into Zone 1 and Zone 2. Those that fall under the Prince Edward Island EI zone need to work 490 insured hours to qualify for regular EI benefits.

Resolutions passed

The three mayors believe P.E.I. is too small to operate with two zones and that returning to one EI zone would be best for all constituents, they said in a statement.

"We've agreed to pass resolutions in each of the municipalities support one EI zone for all of Prince Edward Island," said Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown, adding that each municipality has passed the resolutions in question.

Brown said all four P.E.I. MPs would have to agree to revert to the previous single EI zone.

"As a small Island, as an area that consists 150,000 people, we can come together on this," Brown said. 

"This issue is dividing rural against urban voters and I think the time has come, let's end it and move forward by creating one zone and that zone should be the Zone 1, 440 hours."

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