Economic area too large: Thorkelson

Prince Rupert city councillor Joy Thorkelson wants the province’s Employment Insurance (EI) Economic Region greatly downsized.

Coun. Joy Thorkelson wants Prince Rupert's economic area greatly downsized.

Prince Rupert city councillor Joy Thorkelson wants the province’s Employment Insurance (EI) Economic Region greatly downsized.

In an update to city council last Monday, Coun. Thorkelson noted that the extremely large region that Prince Rupert is classified under and covers more than 50 per cent of the entire land area of the province, is not suitable to address the largely seasonal work that personifies the North Coast.

“Every province is broken up into economic areas. Our economic region goes around Cache Creek, north. So from Cache Creek to the Yukon border, to Haida Gwaii to the Alberta border … The government averages the employment [rate] and they come up with numbers for that area and that is what determines how many hours you need,” Coun. Thorkelson said.

“So if there’s lots of employment [in the area], which there was – there was 100 per cent employment in areas like Fort St. John, and because there are more people in Fort St. John than there are on our side, that skewed the whole north of B.C. The whole employment rate went up and the whole unemployment rate went down because one community was heavily weighted.”

The councillor added that 100 workers in Prince Rupert had more than 490 hours worked, but fell short of the 525-hour threshold needed to qualify for employment insurance.

In a seasonal-work based community, Coun. Thorkelson noted that the new Liberal Government had said that they would change the threshold to 490 hours for seasonal-based communities like Rupert or winter-based cities such as Whistler.

“[Our area] is driven by what happens in Fort St. John … There are five EI areas in the southern part of the province (Southern Interior B.C., Abbotsford, Vancouver, Victoria and Southern Coastal B.C.). You can take a bus from one side of your EI area all the way to the other. You can actually bus from your EI area all the way to someone else’s EI area. That’s the idea – that you should be able to get a job in your EI area. You tell me how someone is supposed to travel everyday to Fort St. John and back again every day. Obviously, it’s an impossibility,” Coun. Thorkelson added, saying that making the EI region smaller can only be done through the federal government and when a group from Prince Rupert approached the former Conservative government with another delegation from Vanderhoof along with a petition with 5,000 signatures, the government said there wasn’t enough support.

“They refused to bring it down, although they’ve done it back east. They’ve made it smaller in New Brunswick and they do it every so often,” she added.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Kaien Anti-Poverty Society hoping to raise $20K in 50/50 community bingo nights

KAPS is looking to raise money for a new vehicle to support their growing food program

Snickers and Superheroes at Udderfest

Fantasy and frivolity the Friday festival offerings

Rupert Lawn and Garden awards build contract for new site to Prince Rupert firm

Garden centre also set to announce temporary location while construction takes place

Esthetically pleasing program coming to Prince Rupert

Coast Mountain College is rolling out a new esthetics program in November

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Heart of Our City: Kaps off to Colleen Hermanson

Colleen Hermanson began working in social services as early as 1968

The Northern View announces inaugural Tyee Fishing Derby in Prince Rupert

More than $7,000 up for grabs for biggest legal salmon and halibut

The Northern View 2019 Readers Choice

It’s that time of year again! Vote online or at the Prince Rupert office before noon on Aug. 30

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

Most Read