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  • Ontario's middle and working class families are losing ground August 15, 2017
    Ontario is becoming more polarized as middle and working class families see their share of the income pie shrinking while upper middle and rich families take home even more. New research from CCPA-Ontario Senior Economist Sheila Block reveals a staggering divide between two labour markets in the province: the top half of families continue to pile […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Join us in October for the CCPA-BC fundraising gala, featuring Senator Murray Sinclair August 14, 2017
    We are incredibly honoured to announce that Senator Murray Sinclair will address our 2017 Annual Gala as keynote speaker, on Thursday, October 19 in Vancouver. Tickets are now on sale. Will you join us? Senator Sinclair has served as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), was the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • How to make NAFTA sustainable, equitable July 19, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is consulting Canadians on their priorities for, and concerns about, the planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood point out how NAFTA has failed to live up to its promise with respect to job and productivity […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What’s next for BC? July 4, 2017
    Five weeks ago the CCPA-BC began a letter to our supporters with this statement: “What an interesting and exciting moment in BC politics! For a bunch of policy nerds like us at the CCPA, it doesn’t get much better than this.” At the time, we were writing about the just-announced agreement between the BC NDP […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Could skyrocketing private sector debt spell economic crisis? June 21, 2017
    Our latest report finds that Canada is racking up private sector debt faster than any other advanced economy in the world, putting the country at risk of serious economic consequences. The report, Addicted to Debt, reveals that Canada has added $1 trillion in private sector debt over the past five years, with the corporate sector […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

EI Runs Out

The number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits plummeted in December. The drop of 40,100 was the largest monthly decrease in years.

One would anticipate some decline in the number of EI recipients as the job market begins to recover. But the magnitude of December’s decline suggests that, in addition to those former recipients who found work, many more simply ran out of benefits.

The Labour Force Survey indicates that employment decreased by 2,600 in December. Therefore, it seems unlikely that 40,100 EI recipients found jobs during that month. (The December edition of the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours will not be released until next week.)

Chronology reinforces the concern about people running out of benefits in December. EI claims normally expire after a year, but provide less than a year of benefits. Therefore, many claims established during the worst of the economic crisis (the end of 2008 and early 2009) would have expired or been exhausted in December 2009.

Fewer than half (47.8 %) of unemployed Canadians received EI benefits in December (744,010 out of 1,555,800).

The federal government has recently made some modest but welcome improvements to EI benefits. Today’s numbers underscore the need for further enhancements as unemployment remains high in the wake of the economic crisis.

UPDATE (February 20): Quoted in The Hamilton Spectator

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