The number of people receiving employment insurance benefits (EI) is rising faster than anywhere else in Canada – yet another wake-up call that says the Sask. Party should stop glossing over the economic challenges and start addressing them.
According to new data from Statistics Canada, the number of people in Saskatchewan receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits has jumped 35 per cent compared to a year ago. Just between October and November 2015, the number of people receiving EI rose 4.6 per cent – much more than Alberta’s 2.7 per cent increase.
Saskatchewan also saw the greatest increase in the number of EI claims – which indicates the number of people who could become EI recipients soon. That 6.4 per cent increase in Saskatchewan in November was far more concerning than the 1.7 per cent increase in Alberta.
“Our economy is facing a significant challenge, and there are Saskatchewan families hurting,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “We believe the price of oil will rebound, and that natural resources will continue to play an important role in our economy. But that can’t mean the government should fail to act in the meantime to help workers and the economy.”
Wotherspoon said the Sask. Party seems to be focused on downplaying the challenges rather than facing them head-on.
“The Sask. Party rode the wave of a booming economy for years. They didn’t diversify or stabilize – in fact, they chipped away at economic diversity with steps like scrapping the regional economic development authorities, and decimating the film industry. They also drained the rainy day fund, which was supposed to help us through times like this. As far as stimulus goes, the Sask. Party is having corporations from France, the United States and England handle our biggest infrastructure projects, instead of keeping those dollars here and stimulating our economy.
“We can diversify – we can set the table for technology, research and cultural industries to thrive here. We can create a hub for entrepreneurs. We can offer training and retraining for Saskatchewan people. All of those things would help.
“Glossing over the challenges doesn’t help anyone – especially not the families who are now looking for work.”