Statistics Canada reported today that the number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance (EI) dropped by 29,000 in April. Meanwhile, the Labour Force Survey indicates that unemployment rose by 14,000 in April (and by a further 8,000 in May). The combination of falling EI coverage and rising unemployment means that tens of thousands more jobless workers are not getting benefits.
In total, there were 514,000 EI recipients out of 1,371,000 officially unemployed workers in April. In other words, only 37% of jobless Canadians received EI benefits. This ratio was as low as 26% in Ontario and 22% in Alberta.
It’s worth noting that this significant deterioration of EI coverage occurred even before the measures in the omnibus budget bill to further restrict the program. Kicking more workers off benefits is absolutely the wrong approach amid rising unemployment.
UPDATE (June 22): Quoted in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post
- Falling EI Benefits Amid Rising Unemployment (May 23rd, 2013)
- Business journalists go on the attack; demonize Atlantic seasonal workers (May 14th, 2013)
- Fact-Busting HRSDC’s “Just the Facts” on EI Changes (April 23rd, 2013)
- A Weak Week for Canada’s Economy (April 19th, 2013)
- EI and CPP Appeals consolidation begins (April 16th, 2013)