FREDERICTON (GNB) – Phase 2 of the Seasonal Worker Pilot Program is open for eligible New Brunswickers who experience a gap between employment insurance (EI) benefits and their seasonal employment.

“Our government recognizes the important role seasonal workers play in our provincial economy,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “We are focused on supporting seasonal workers in the province and connecting them with industries experiencing a labour shortage. Ultimately, government’s goal is to help extend the employment period of seasonal workers by offering training and work experience.”

The program offers a seven-week training or work experience placement for employees in the fisheries, agriculture, forestry and tourism industries in the Restigouche-Albert EI Economic Region 09. This region includes all of Restigouche, Gloucester, Northumberland and Kent counties, and portions of York, Sunbury, Queens, Westmorland and Albert counties. The region is the largest in the province.

Training would typically be connected to the worker’s industry, and done in conjunction with the employer.

Phase 1 of the program took place between March and June 2018, and 99 individuals participated. To qualify, participants must have had seasonal employment for a minimum of two years in the fisheries, agriculture, forestry or tourism sectors and reside in the Restigouche-Albert EI region. They must be ready, available and able to participate in training and/or work placement, ready to return to their job at the start of the work season, and must meet with an employment counsellor to establish an employment action plan.

The program is managed on behalf of the province by two community organizations: Centre de bénévolat de la Péninsule acadienne inc. and Miramichi Adult Learning Inc.

“We have hired a community worker for Phase 2 of the pilot program to help seasonal workers navigate the EI and employment development programs and services,” said Léo-Paul Pinet, executive director of the Centre de bénévolat de la Pénisule acadienne inc. “The community worker has vast knowledge of the seasonal work in the region and will help seasonal workers connect to available services when required.”

These seasonal workers can reach the Centre de Bénévolat de la Péninsule Acadienne inc. by calling 506-727-9327.

Holder said that all unemployed New Brunswickers are eligible for programs and services offered by the department. Individuals are encouraged to contact their local employment development office for skill training and job seeking services.

Additional information on the Seasonal Worker Program Pilot Project is available online.