WHITEHORSE, Feb. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister
of Employment and Social Development, today embarked on a five-day tour
to learn first-hand about the territories' booming economy, meet with
employers and training institutions to learn more about challenges like
the skills shortage, highlight Economic Action Plan 2014 and explain
and discuss recently announced changes to Employment Insurance (EI) for
residents of Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
During his visit to Yukon College, Minister Kenney discussed how
governments and employers can work together to create jobs, growth and
long-term prosperity in the North. For example, the Ketza River Mine,
the MacTung Mine and the Eagle Gold Mine will help boost the economy
for years to come. To expand such projects and help businesses grow,
Minister Kenney outlined government efforts to help employers find the
workers they need and address the skills gap.
The Government of Canada has announced changes to the EI program to
ensure it better reflects the northern economy as being among the
strongest in Canada. Across Canada, regional unemployment rates
determine how much, and for how long, a person receives EI. However,
since the 1970s, the unemployment rate used for EI in the territories
has been arbitrarily fixed at 25 percent. This outdated policy does not
reflect the true state of the economy in the North.
With major resource developments on the horizon, the economic outlook
for Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut is very promising,
with significant income growth and job creation already realized and
expected to continue in the coming years.
According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in Yukon in January 2014. The
latest unemployment rate estimated for Whitehorse is 5 percent, well
below the current administratively set 25 percent unemployment rate. To
align the administration of the EI program in Yukon with the rest of
Canada, it will be split into two regions: Whitehorse and the rest of
the territory. This change reflects the fact that it is easier for
northerners to find good jobs in Whitehorse compared to remote areas of
Minister Kenney also highlighted measures in Economic Action Plan 2014
that create jobs and opportunities and increase the quality of life for
northerners including infrastructure investments, a new fund to improve
health care services in the North, a commitment to enhance funding for
the Nutrition North program and the Government of Canada's efforts to
submit the strongest possible claim to the United Nations to protect
Canadian sovereignty in the North.
At 6.3 percent, Yukon has the third lowest unemployment rate in Canada,
and has enjoyed ten successive years of economic growth.
The economy in Yukon is expected to grow by nearly 6 percent next year,
according to the Conference Board of Canada.
The Government of Canada is advancing an integrated Northern Strategy
that will strengthen Canada's sovereignty, protect our environmental
heritage, promote economic and social development and improve northern
"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and
long-term prosperity for all Canadians. The economic outlook for the
territories offers a promising future, and economic growth has been
forecasted to outpace growth in most other regions in Canada. We are
helping equip Canadians with the skills and training to succeed in the
northern territories' prosperous job market."
Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for
"Yukon's labour force is well-positioned for continued growth and
economic prosperity. Building on our Northern Strategy to promote
social and economic development, our government is helping Yukon, and
all the territories, achieve their full potential."
Member of Parliament for Yukon
Ensuring Employment Insurance program reflects local economies in the
Government of Canada's Northern Strategy
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Follow us on Twitter