Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Rachel Notley toured Fort McMurray Friday and reaffirmed federal disaster recovery support for Alberta.
“I’m grateful the Prime Minister came to see firsthand the challenges faced by the residents of Wood Buffalo. I’d like to again thank the first responders who have worked around the clock to protect homes and who are now stabilizing the community so the rebuilding can start.”
“Today’s announcement is about helping three other EI regions facing tough economic times. The commodities downturn has been particularly difficult for many Canadian communities, and the EI provisions announced today will make it easier for claimants who are eligible for EI to collect the benefits they need. We lend a hand in tough times. It is who we are, and what we do.”
Prime Minister Trudeau reaffirmed that disaster assistance discussions will be expedited so people can return to their homes as quickly as possible.
The visit was also an opportunity to confirm the federal government will expand Employment Insurance benefit eligibility to include the Edmonton region, something Premier Notley has been advocating for since the Federal budget was announced in March. Eligibility now matches that of Calgary and the rest of Alberta.
This extension will mean that those who are eligible for EI can claim an additional five weeks of benefits for regular claimants, and a further 20 weeks of benefits for long-tenured workers. These benefits will be available for one year – beginning July 3, 2016 – and will apply retroactively to anyone who started a claim on or after January 4, 2015, and is still unemployed.
- More than 90,000 Fort McMurray and Northern Alberta residents are subject to a mandatory evacuation order due to wildfire.
- More than 2,400 structures are estimated to have been destroyed by wildfires in the Wood Buffalo area.