Canada on Tuesday announced to spend 60 million Canadian dollars (48 million U. S. dollars) to bolster the Employment Insurance (EI) system, as increasingly more workers are laid off amid the deepening recession.
The money will be used to hire more staff, process claims more quickly and extend the period of coverage by five weeks, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said at a press conference in Ottawa.
The new staff, along with measures to automate and streamline the application process, are intended to keep the target of processing 80 percent of EI claims within 28 days, she said.
Earlier Tuesday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said unemployment has increased in recent months, and he expects it to continue to worsen before the global recession begins to abate.
Statistics Canada recently pegged the nation's jobless rate at 7.7 percent last month, the highest level in over five years.
Roughly 300,000 Canadian jobs have evaporated in the past four months, more than 82,000 in February alone.
Some analysts believe the unemployment rate will rise above 10 percent and 600,000 jobs will have been lost before the recession ends.