Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do you have enough hours?

This is a frequently asked question around Ucluelet at this time of year. Why? Since much of the town is employed in the fishing industry one way or the other, everyone busts their butts all summer long (or as they say "all season long", meaning the summer/tourist/fishing season) to get their 910 hours to be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits.

For those not in Canada, what this means is when someone is laid off from work, if they have worked 910 hours in the last 12 months, they are eligible for income assistance that is a fraction of what they were making while employed, but (hopefully) enough to live on.

Most of the people around here who have been working at the fish plants have made more than enough hours to get their EI cheques. They are just waiting to get laid off.

Alas, I am not in the same boat. I have been looking for work, but since the jobs I've had all summer have been so casual and on-call, and since I haven't worked for paid employment in a few years (was doing my M.Sc. then was supported by my husband while looking for work), I am hundreds of hours short of being eligible for EI. This means I either have to take any job I can find here in Ucluelet (or Tofino, or Port Alberni) or see if we can manage on Dan's income. He is getting EI and has enough (but not too many) hours from fish job to survive.

It's going to be a tough winter, financially speaking. I have grandiose plans of selling my beautiful knitted pieces, but really, that is an unpredictable factor. I'm making stuff to sell, if it doesn't sell, they will be gifts. I'm even thinking about Etsy as a possible venue. I doubt that it could really represent an actual portion of our income but hey, every bit helps, right?

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