Edmonton – Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan has called on the federal government to extend EI coverage for all those affected by floods in Southern Alberta.
Only about 22% of unemployed Albertans are eligible for EI and the waiting period is 2 weeks.
McGowan wrote to Minister Diane Finley today and asked her to immediately undertake the following:
- Waive all waiting periods for those who qualify for benefits.
- Extend EI benefits to small business owners affected by the flood. Many of the establishments under water in Inglewood/Mission, downtown Calgary, Bragg Creek, Medicine Hat, Banff/Canmore, Kananaskis and High River are in fact small businesses. Establish a special benefits class for small business owners whose businesses are not operational for up to (at least) four weeks and waive all waiting periods.
- Extend EI coverage to workers on commission and others – such as those who work for tips – who rarely qualify for EI. Many of the workers affected by the floods are employed by small business and work on commission or for tips. Extend EI coverage to those workers for their commission/tips income as reported to the CRA for the 2012 tax year.
"Almost all of Alberta's first responders are union members and they're working hard in health care and emergency services delivery, remediation and restoration to help deal with the aftermath of the flood," says McGowan.
"We're hoping the federal government recognizes that not all workers have access to EI benefits. Extending them in these circumstances is the right thing to do for the people of Southern Alberta."
Read letter to Minister Finley
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780-218-9888 (cell)