PM announces Edmonton, two other regions to receive extended EI benefits
Months after his government’s first budget struck a chord by choosing some areas, but not others, to qualify for extended Employment Insurance benefits – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said three regions, including the Edmonton area, would receive those benefits after all.
In a news conference held at the Provincial Operations Centre in Edmonton, Trudeau announced the Edmonton economic region, along with southern interior British Columbia and southern Saskatchewan, would be included in the list of regions that qualify for extended EI benefits.
The benefits were originally granted to twelve regions – but updated unemployment figures meant the three regions announced Friday qualified as well.
“Today’s announcement is about helping three other EI regions facing tough economic times,” Trudeau said in a statement Friday. “The commodities downturn has been particularly difficult for many Canadian communities, and the EI provisions announced today will make it easier for claimants who are eligible for EI to collect the benefits they need.”
Adding Edmonton to the list of regions has been a major talking point for Premier Rachel Notley since Trudeau's Budget 2016 was tabled in March. In the news conference Friday, she thanked Trudeau for the change.
The extension means those who are eligible for EI can claim an additional five weeks of benefits for regular claimants, and another 20 weeks of benefits for long-tenured workers.
The benefits are available for one year, starting on July 3, 2016. The benefits will apply retroactively to anyone who started a claim on or after January 4, 2015, and is still unemployed – the Prime Minister’s office said.