Employment Insurance overhaul welcomed by MP Nathan Cullen

Northwest residents shouldn’t have to wait until there’s a crisis to have their Employment Insurance benefits extended, says Nathan Cullen

Northwest residents shouldn’t have to wait until there’s a crisis to have their Employment Insurance benefits extended, says Skeena NDP MP Nathan Cullen.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the decision, but this shouldn’t be treated like a one-off,” said Cullen of the decision to add five additional weeks of coverage to the existing 45 weeks for qualifying applicants.

The decision, announced in the federal budget to come into effect in March, adds those five weeks to qualifying applicants in 12 regions, one of which is northern B.C.

It applies to regions where the unemployment rate has increased in size by two percentage poionts between March 2015 and February 2016 compared to the lowest point between December 2014 and February 2015.

The extended benefits will begin in July and be retroactive to January 2015, a move said to incorporate job losses by a downturn in the oil and gas industry.

That would apply specifically to areas such as northeastern B.C. which has seen its unemployment rate climb from 4.2 per cent in March 2015 to 9.7 per cent in March 2016 to then retreat slightly to 9.4 per cent in April.

But the northwest has had a historically higher and steadier unemployment rate which in April was 7.8 per cent.

“We’ve been trying for years to treat the northwest separate from the northeast. They are so utterly different,” said Cullen in saying the northwest has been more vulnerable over the years to economic shifts.

And he’s also looking forward to promised improvements as to how many people can qualify for EI in the first place.

“It really seems to have been designed not to deliver,” said Cullen. “As many as a third of people paying into it weren’t able to even qualify.”

“It’s like having insurance and not being able to use it.”

He also said it’s important to remember that the money for EI comes from employees and employers, not the federal government.


Just Posted

Kurka keeps thing official

The longtime hockey referee has been on the ice in Prince Rupert for more than 30 years

Rampaging toward the playoffs

The Prince Rupert Rampage beat the Terrace River Kings 8-5 on Jan. 20

Sweet tradition returns: Sugar Shack 2018

The 2018 Sugar Shack festival celebrates Francophone culture in Prince Rupert Jan. 24-27

Joie de vivre

Finding those “awe” moments with family, friends and food

Christians unite for one service in Rupert

Father Terry Brock is hoping to unite all of Prince Rupert’s Christians under one roof for one night

VIDEO: New whale rescue equipment comes to Rupert

Fisheries officers took to the water to practice saving stranded whales

Carriers wanted for the Northern View

We have open routes for carriers all over Prince Rupert

Complaint against Prince George RCMP in death of Wet’suwet’en man

Thirty-five year old Dale Culver died while in Prince George RCMP custody last summer.

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Most Read