Edmonton

Prime minister gives 3 more regions extended EI benefits

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference in Edmonton that the decision was made after new job numbers showed these regions now qualify for additional benefits.

New numbers justify extension to Edmonton, southern Saskatchewan and southern B.C. interior

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hug after speaking with media in Edmonton on Friday. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press )

Laid-off workers in Edmonton, southern Saskatchewan and the south interior of B.C.will qualify for extended employment insurance benefits starting in July

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference in Edmonton Friday that the decision was made after new job numbers showed these regions now qualify for additional benefits.

The announcement brings the number of regions with extended benefits to 15.

Measures announced in the March federal budget gave extra weeks of benefits to workers in 12 regions badly hit by the economic downturn.

Every region in Alberta was included, except Edmonton. Premier Rachel Notley said Edmonton's exclusion was unjustified.

Notley thanked Trudeau at the news conference in Edmonton which followed the prime minister's tour of Fort McMurray.

"My kids really hate it when I nag at them, so I personally want to thank the prime minister for putting up with that and then, in fact, responding as thoughtfully and as fully as his government has."

Premier Brad Wall also thanked the prime minister in a written statement. 

"This will provide some relief to those insurable workers in southern Saskatchewan who have lost their jobs due to the downturn in the oil sector," Wall said. "However, the real goal is to get people back to work, which is largely dependent on the oil price but could be helped by the approval of national pipelines."

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