The Leduc-Nisku EDAtorial
Leduc Blog
Edmonton left out of EI benefit extensions
March 24, 2016
Barbara McKenzie

So the federal budget hit yesterday and unemployed Albertans were given a lifeline, well almost all unemployed Albertans - Edmonton was left out. When questioned why, there has been no explanation except that our unemployment rate is lower.  Is that really the deciding factor?  It may be lower but it is higher by over 2.5% than it was just 18 months ago and its not getting better. 

It's a fact that Edmonton has a strong construction and public service sector which has helped reduce the impact of the oil crash on the Edmonton unemployment, but Edmonton is not just Edmonton, it is also Leduc, Parkland, Nisku and Acheson.  There are oil and gas people here, there are those that used to commute to Ft. McMurray and are now unemployed, there are those employed in the oil and gas services sector that are now unemployed.

Think Edmonton is an island, come down to Nisku. In 2014, there were over 15,000 people commuting, today it  is much less and those people live in Edmonton, Leduc, Devon, Beaumont, Spruce Grove, Sherwood Park and all around the region. 18 months ago traffic on highway 2 was heavy, at 8 in the morning or 4 in the afternoon a three lane, 110 km/hr highway could often be a parking lot.  Today, it takes less than 10 minutes to get from the Airport to South Edmonton, no traffic jams, no issues.  So that means manufacturing jobs, welders, drillers, those trades people so critical to the supply and services sector have lost their jobs.  They won't get jobs in the public service.  They are unemployed.

Edmonton contributes over $42.5 billion in GDP to the Canadian Economy each year and houses over 1 Million of its citizens, but yet those that need the help the most are excluded, without explanation.

So thanks for excluding Edmonton, and all its surrounding communities. Thanks for putting an undue burden on our social services, food banks, women's shelters and so much more.  Hopefully our federal government will reconsider this exclusion as our strong oil and gas services sector is  suffering and many of those workers live and worked in the Edmonton region.  Numbers don't tell the whole story.