More than 100 migrant farm workers will eventually receive the EI parental benefits that Canada owed them for years by denying them access.
DAVE CHIDLEY FILE PHOTO
Glendon Sanchez, 37, of Trinidad and Tobago, is among 102 migrant farm workers who are owed benefits by the federal government.
More than 100 migrant farm workers will receive the EI parental benefits that Canada owed them for years after Ottawa agreed not to challenge earlier decisions rendered by an independent tribunal.
“That migrant workers see this benefit as important to them is proved by the number of times every year we get calls from their homelands to find out the latest (news),” said Jennifer Pothier, executive director of the Niagara North Community Legal Assistances. “Now we can tell them of the victory.”
Some 30,000 migrant workers from the Caribbean and Mexico have been coming to Canada under the federal Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program since 1966.
Collectively they contribute an estimated $3.4 million in premiums into the EI system, though they have never been eligible for full EI benefits because they leave Canada at the end of their seasonal employment.
Migrant workers had been qualified for special benefits such as parental and compassionate compensations for up to 35 weeks even if they were outside Canada in the off-season. However, Ottawa changed the Employment Insurance Act in 2012 to impose residency requirement.
Pothier said a meeting with the EI Commission is set for Oct. 1 to iron out the details of the payouts. The 102 claims were worth between $3,000 and $8,000 per worker.
3. How long can I receive maternity, parental and sickness benefits?
- Maternity benefits can be paid up to a maximum of 15 weeks.
- Parental benefits can be paid up to a maximum of 35 weeks.(N.B. 245 DAYS)
- Sickness benefits can be paid up to a maximum of 15 weeks.