WOOD BUFFALO – Keyano College is proceeding with cuts to the Northern Living Allowance to employees after failing to receive confirmation that the Alberta government will fund it beyond June 2020.
A letter from the college to employees confirms that the monthly allowance of $1,040 per person will be taken off the pay packages of employees in July. Keyano employees are the second group after childcare workers to lose the monthly benefit since the Kenney government was elected.
CUPE Alberta President Rory Gill said he was worried other Fort McMurray residents would soon lose the benefit.
“First it was childcare workers, then Keyano employees, I’m worried municipal workers, healthcare workers, firefighters and others will lose it next,” said Gill.
“Jason Kenney promised to support oil and gas communities,” said Gill. “By defunding the allowance, after everything Fort McMurray has been through, is a slap in the face to a city that is still struggling.”
Started during boom times, the allowance assisted Wood Buffalo residents with the high cost of living. Gill said that the allowance now serves a different purpose.
“With the fire, the economic downturn, the crash in oil prices, and the COVID-19 crisis, Fort McMurray residents need help more than ever,” said Gill.
“The living allowance is a lifeline. Don’t cut it.