Employment insurance extended for all Albertans, except Edmontonians

Dec 19 2017, 3:15 am

The federal budget announced by the Liberal government today extends employment insurance benefits for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Canadians who live in these economically-challenged jurisdictions will be able to claim employment insurance for 50 weeks, which is an increase of five weeks over the existing program.

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This comes as the unemployment rate in the province soared to 7.4% earlier this year. But there is a caveat in the policy: Residents who live in Edmonton are not able to claim the extended benefits, and it likely has to do with the city’s better-performing economy.

Edmonton’s unemployment rate is 6.5%. Contrast that to Calgary’s rate of 7.7% and the national average of 7.2%.

“I’m pleased that the Prime Minister responded to my calls to make immediate changes to EI,” said Premier Rachel Notley in a statement. “This will help struggling Alberta families and unemployed workers right away. The five extra weeks of EI benefits will be a big help to Albertans who are unemployed, as will the extra 20 weeks for long-tenured employees, as well as the reduced waiting period from two weeks to one.”

“While we’re disappointed that Edmonton is not included in the changes, we will keep a sharp eye on the state of job loss in Edmonton and we will continue to push for changes, should the situation worsen.”