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The failure of Canadian seasonal fishermen's unemployment insurance reform during the 1960s and 1970s

By William E Schrank


The fishermen's unemployment insurance system in Canada must be among the most controversial aspects of this most controversial of industries. The implementation of the system in 1957 did nothing to stem the tide of opposition. While virtually every "expert" who has ever looked at the system has suggested that seasonal fishermen be removed from unemployment insurance coverage, there have been only two serious attempts to do so. The first occurred during the first half of the 1960s, following the release of the Gill Report. The second occurred during the mid-1970s following an ultimately abortive federal Cabinet directive. The primary question asked, and answered, is why in the face of determined opposition to the system, did attempts to reform the fishermen's unemployment scheme repeatedly fail.unemployment insurance fisheries Canada Newfoundland

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