Main menu:

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

  • 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
Progressive Bloggers

Meta

Recent Blog Posts

Posts by Author

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Another EI Absurdity

Well under one half of Canada’s 1.5 million unemployed workers are collecting EI benefits today, even though the national unemployment rate is still almost 8%. Special EI measures introduced as part of the 2009 Budget, notably an extra 5 weeks of benefits for all claimants,  expired this fall, long before a real labour market recovery has taken place.

The additional five weeks of EI provided as part of the Government Economic Action Plan benefited 900,000 workers and helped tempoarily boost the B/U rate – EI beneficiaries as a percentage of the unemployed – to a high of 51% at the low point of the downturn in the Summer of 2009. The measure does not apply to claims filed after September 11.

The job market is still a long way from where it was before the recession. The national unemployment rate was 7.9% in October 2010, down a bit from the recession high of 8.6%, but still almost two percentage points above the pre recession level of just over 6.0%.  The national unemployment rate is forecast in the October Economic and Fiscal Update to remain very close to present levels for some considerable time, averaging 7.7% in 2011, and 7.4% in 2012. Some forecasters are even more pessimistic. TD Economics forecasts an 8.1% unemployment rate for 2011.

The number of regular EI beneficiaries is falling much faster than the number of unemployed workers as some workers exhaust benefits, and as those being laid-off from precarious jobs fail to qualify for EI due to high entrance requirements in terms of hours worked. (Some need 910 hours or the equivalent of six months full-time work.)

Between June, 2009 (when the recession was at its worst) and August, 2010, the number of EI beneficiaries has been falling three times faster than the number of unemployed workers (down 17.8% compared to 5.1%). As a result, the proportion of all unemployed workers collecting regular EI benefits has fallen sharply over this period, from 51.3% to 44.4%. This is about the same level as before the recession, even though the unemployment rate is still about two percentage points higher than before the recession.(See Table)

The situation is especially grim in Ontario. Less than one in three (32.0%) of unemployed Ontario workers received regular EI benefits in August. This is well below the national average of 44.4%, even though the Ontario unemployment rate is well above the national rate (8.6% compared to 7.9%  in October).

In this dismal context, the federal government announced in October that the Extended EI Benefit Pilot Project will be re-instated for two years until September 15, 2012. This had been in question since it had been folded into the general 5 week benefit extension which was part of the Economic Action Plan. Effectively this restores the extra 5 weeks of benefits, but only for the 21 EI regions which had unemployment rates above 10% back when the pilot project began in 2005.

This is good news for workers in 21 regions, which cover most of rural Atlantic Canada, rural Quebec and Northern Canada, where unemployment rates generally remain high. (If the rate in a region falls below 8% for a year, they will be dropped from the pilot.)

Left out in the cold are five EI regions which have unemployment rates above 10% today. These regions are (with the October, 2010 unemployment rate in brackets) mainly in hard-hit industrial Ontario: Huron (10.5%); Windsor (11.5%); Niagara (10.4%); and Oshawa (10.1%.) On the cusp are St.Catharines (9.6%) and Toronto (9.3%). Also excluded is the Southern Interior of BC (10.8%.)

So, the EI system has been dialled back to its pre recession parameters, which mean as little as 14 weeks of benefits for those who just manage to qualify. But nothing is being done to help the many workers who have exhausted their benefits in especially hard-hit industrial Ontario.

Change in EI Regular Beneficiaries and Change in Number of Unemployed, June 2009 to August 2010



Change June 2009 – August 2010
Canada June 2009 August 2010 Number Percentage





EI Regular Beneficiaries 816,630 671,210 -145,420 -17.8%
Unemployed 1,591,900 1,510,900 -81,000 -5.1%



Beneficiaries as % Unemployed 51.3% 44.4%%



Ontario




EI Regular Beneficiaries 283,000 205,290 -77,710 -27.5%
Unemployed 685,600 642,000 -43,600 -6.4%




Beneficiaries as % Unemployed 41.3% 32.0%%





(All data seasonally adjusted.)
Enjoy and share:

Comments

Comment from Travis Fast
Time: November 13, 2010, 8:43 am

“The measure does not apply to claims filed after September 11.”

And people say conservatives do not have a sense of humour.

Write a comment





Related articles