Regina Running Out of EI as Extended Benefits Kick In Elsewhere

September 22nd, 2016

Today’s Statistics Canada figures suggest that Regina workers are running out of Employment Insurance (EI) as extended benefits take effect in the rest of the province. Regina–Lewvan MP Erin Weir is again calling for the federal government to include Regina in its EI extension.

“The statistics seem to confirm what I heard on the doorsteps this summer: many unemployed workers in Regina are running out of EI benefits,” said Weir. “If they lived anywhere else in Saskatchewan, they would be getting additional weeks of support.”

Today, Statistics Canada released EI figures for July, the first month of extended benefits. As expected, the number of workers receiving benefits jumped, driven by regions included in the benefit extension. Regina, the only part of Saskatchewan and Alberta excluded from extended benefits, was also the only region in which the number of beneficiaries fell from June to July.

“The questionable decision to leave our city out of extended benefits has real consequences for laid-off workers and their families,” said Weir. “New Democrats are pushing the federal government to include Regina in extended EI.”

While other political parties have stayed silent, Evraz steel wrote to the Minister of Employment on June 24. Having laid off workers due to the drop in oil prices, it asked the government to include Regina in extended EI. The Minister’s office confirmed receipt of the letter on June 27, but the government has not yet responded to Regina’s largest private-sector employer.

In an adjournment debate on September 19, Weir questioned Regina’s exclusion and the lack of response to Evraz. Please note that the figures quoted in this video of the debate are from Statistics Canada’s previous release.