Edmonton is now eligible for extended Employment Insurance benefits. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Southern Interior BC and Southern Saskatchewan have also been added to the list of qualifying regions.
“This extension would mean that unemployed workers can claim an extra five weeks of regular benefits, in addition to what they’re already entitled to up to a maximum of 50 weeks. This extension will provide the temporary financial support unemployed workers need while they search for work.”
For long tenured workers, the extension provides an extra 20 weeks of benefits up to a maximum of 70 weeks. Although the announcement came after Trudeau toured the devastation in Fort McMurray, he says the tragedy has nothing to do it.
“The decision was based on new data. We are a government focused on evidence-based policy and the fact is that the job numbers demonstrated that Edmonton and the other two regions I’ve highlighted now qualify for that.”
In order to qualify, each EI region had to see a two per cent jump in its unemployment rate. Edmonton saw that happen last week.
Trudeau got a first-hand look at the devastation caused by wildfire in Fort McMurray Friday. He said it was shocking to see entire communities completely burned to the ground, right next to areas untouched by fire.
“To the people of Fort McMurray, know that even though things may look difficult and uncertain and at times perhaps almost hopeless, know that you are not alone. Canadians are standing with you; you can lean on us and you can count on us.”
The PM says in just 11 days, $86 million has been raised for relief efforts through the Canadian Red Cross. The federal government has committed to match all individual donations, and the provincial government will match donations by Albertans.