Alberta puts up $40M to help workers transition during coal-power phase-out

Steam billows from the Sheerness coal fired generating station near Hanna, Alta., Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta is putting aside $40 million to help workers losing their jobs as the province transitions away from thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plants over the next decade.

Labour Minister Christina Gray says the money will top up benefits to 75 per cent of a worker’s previous earnings during the time they collect employment insurance.

READ MORE: Alberta sets up fund to help communities during coal phase-out transition

Alberta is asking the federal government to not claw back existing benefits as the province tops up those EI benefits, while also extending EI benefits for retiring coal workers.

Gray says even if the federal government does not step up, the province will provide the funds to match that 75 per cent threshold.

READ MORE: ‘We’re going to lose 200 full-time, well-paying jobs’: impact of coal phase-out on Hanna, Alta.

There will also be help for workers in the form of tuition vouchers, retraining programs, and on-site transitioning advice.

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The province estimates there are 2,000 workers affected.

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