EI benefits extended for workers here affected by Alberta’s economic plunge

The southern Interior of B.C. gets added at the last minute to a list of 15 regions eligible for the EI extension.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr is welcoming an announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that families in the southern Interior of B.C. who have been affected by the economic downturn in Alberta, will now be eligible for extended Employment Insurance benefits.

In the recent federal budget, twelve EI economic regions were listed as qualifying for extended benefits due to the downturn in the commodities sector. The federal government promised to monitor the economic situation following the budget, and last last week added three additions to the list: the southern Interior of B.C., Edmonton and Southern Saskatchewan.

Fuhr said the list is now complete and no more regions will be added.

According to the local MP, this extension will mean that those who are eligible for EI can claim an additional five weeks of benefits for regular claimants, and a further 20 weeks of benefits for long-tenured workers. Those benefits will be available for one year, starting July 3,  and will apply retroactively to anyone who started a claim on or after Jan. 4, 2015, and is still unemployed.

“The impact of the economic downturn was certainly felt by many families who relied on employment in the oil and gas sector in Alberta,” said Fuhr.

“I am extremely pleased that the government reviewed the situation and has extended EI to support our workers and their families in Kelowna-Lake Country and in the southern Interior.”