Extend EI coverage for all southern Alberta flood victims: AFL

AFL president suggests waiving waiting period, extending benefits to small business owners

Canada should extend EI coverage for all those affected by floods in southern Alberta, according to Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan.

Only about 22 per cent of unemployed Albertans are eligible for EI and the waiting period is two weeks, he says.

McGowan has written to Diane Finley, minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, asking 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

• 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 and who rarely qualify for EI

• extend EI coverage to those workers for their commission/tips income as reported to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the 2012 tax year.

"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," says McGowan.

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