EI Figures Cast Doubt on Budget’s Exclusion of South Saskatchewan

March 24th, 2016

Statistics Canada reported today that, over the past year, the number of Regina workers turning to Employment Insurance (EI) rose by 37 per cent – in line with the province-wide jump of 41 per cent

“These figures cast doubt on the federal government’s decision to exclude Regina and southern Saskatchewan from the budget’s extension of EI benefits for regions hit by the collapse of oil and gas,” said Regina–Lewvan MP Erin Weir, who will be raising this concern in today’s Question Period (before 10am Saskatchewan time). 

Sask. Party leader Brad Wall has also complained about EI benefits not being extended in the south, but is in a weak position to make this case given his failure to advocate for any benefit extension prior to the budget. Wall focused on arguing against improving the Canada Pension Plan, rather than for improving EI. 

By contrast, Weir has repeatedly spoken up in Parliament about improving EI benefits for Saskatchewan workers. In a speech on EI on February 26, he observed, “Regina is near the epicentre of the downturn in the oil and gas sector.” 

Wednesday’s federal budget extended EI benefits in Saskatoon and Northern Saskatchewan, but not in Regina or Southern Saskatchewan, where oil and gas workers are being laid off.

Videos 

Weir’s Feb. 26 Remarks on EI in Regina: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4dus3PdQ0c&feature=youtu.be&t=10m40s

Weir’s Questions on EI for Saskatchewan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2nKTBHfOIM 

Today’s Data 

EI Recipients by City: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/160324/t003a-eng.htm

EI Recipients by Province: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/160324/t001a-eng.htm