Grits seek answers after federal EI program cost more than expected

A program designed to help workers in 15 regions of the country with stubborn unemployment rates is costing more than the federal government anticipated.

The government figured that just 235 thousand people would use extra weeks of employment insurance benefits when they unveiled the program last year.

That was projected to cost the government just over 827 million dollars between April of 2016 and March of 2019.

But as of July 9th, Employment and Social Development Canada says that it had spent just under 1.31 billion dollars on the extra weeks of benefits for more than 317 thousand claimants.

That has the federal Liberals looking for answers.

Opposition critics argue the fault lies in the Liberals' economic policy.

Conservative critic Pierre Poilievre says the government's moves to increase taxes had a negative effect on hiring, which meant more spending on employment insurance programs.