In what is being called a “disheartening” move by the federal government, the Leduc region has been excluded from receiving improved employment insurance (EI) benefits promised with Liberal’s new budget.
A joint City of Leduc/Leduc County press release states: “Communities excluded from the improved EI benefit within the Leduc region include: Leduc County (Nisku and New Sarepta), Leduc, Beaumont, Calmar, Devon, Thorsby and Warburg. The Leduc region is also home to the Leduc-Nisku industrial business parks – which together, form the largest energy industrial park in Canada and the second largest in North America.”
Leduc County mayor John Whaley says while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated his reasons for not including the Leduc region he is dismayed at the decision. Also in the press release, Whaley says he continues to believe the region should be included in areas receiving the improvements.
“Nisku and communities in the Leduc region have historically been largely employed by the energy and manufacturing sectors,” said Whaley in the release. “As a result of the current economic climate, our businesses are struggling and many residents are without work.”
“Leduc County is built on the heart, soul and work ethic of our ratepayers and that of the region where many of the employees of the Nisku Industrial park reside. We have survived economic downturns in the past and through good governance, sound financial management and regional cooperation we will do so again,” he said in an interview with the Pipestone Flyer.
When asked his thoughts on the region boundaries and how they fit with the amount of commuting people in Alberta do for work Whaley said that is a topic that would better be set before the Government of Canada.
Whaley added if there are to be any consequences stemming from this decision the Liberal Party will feel it in the next election, as it will be up to the voters to make their feelings evident.
The Government of Canada separated Alberta into four EI Economic Regions: Calgary, Edmonton, northern Alberta and southern Alberta. The Leduc region is included in the EI Economic Region of Edmonton. According to the federal government, the unemployment rate for the EI Economic Region of Edmonton has increased over the past year from 4.9 per cent to 6.8 per cent.