Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government is extending employment insurance benefits to three western economic regions that were left out when changes were first made.
Trudeau says the situation has since changed and those areas now meet the criteria for extra help.
The March budget eased EI waiting periods and added weeks of coverage in 12 parts of the country hit hard by a prolonged downturn in commodity prices.
But Edmonton, southern Saskatchewan and British Columbia’s southern interior didn’t qualify under a formula used by the government.
The Liberals were under increasing pressure to add them to the list especially from the premiers of oil-producing provinces Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Trudeau made the announcement in Edmonton after touring Fort McMurray, where a wildfire ripped through parts of the city last week.
Trudeau said no other regions will be added.
Premier Brad Wall released a statement on Friday afternoon in response to the announcement:
“Thank you to the federal government for listening and ensuring that the extension of EI benefits are expanded to southern Saskatchewan and are now consistent with the last unemployment numbers. This will provide some relief to those insurable workers in southern Saskatchewan who have lost their jobs due to the downturn in the oil sector. However, the real goal is to get people back to work which is largely dependent on the oil price but could be helped by the approval of national pipelines.”
(With files from the Canadian Press)