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Archive for 'Employment Insurance'

Labour market musings

Just a short post ahead of the job numbers that come out from Statistics Canada tomorrow. Five years after the end of the last recession, and Canada’s labour market is still limping along. And it seems to have taken a turn for the worse recently. While the Conservative government crows about one million net new […]

Liberal’s EI Plan Rests on Bad Math

Joe Oliver recently announced a Small Business Tax Cut, sorry, Job Credit. Economists across the ideological spectrum denounced it as poorly designed. This opened up an interesting opportunity for a national debate about what we want E.I. to be – coverage right now is at all time lows, and the accumulated deficit from the last recession […]

EI Needs To Increase Access Not Lower Premiums

Erin does a nice job of documenting the fact that the number of EI recipients is falling, despite the fact that unemployment is rising. But it seems to me that the crisis in EI is forever falling on deaf ears. Even though only 37.5% of unemployed workers are receiving EI, pundits and politicians feel that the […]

EI Falls as Unemployment Rises

Statistics Canada reported today that the number of people receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell by 12,070 in May – the largest drop in nearly two years. (The last time Statistics Canada records indicate a larger decrease was 12,670 in July 2012.) This substantial decline in EI benefits comes as unemployment is rising. The Labour […]

Rental Housing in Yellowknife

Yesterday I blogged about rental housing in Yellowknife, over at the Northern Public Affairs web site.  Specifically, I blogged about a recent announcement by the city’s largest for-profit landlord that it plans to “tighten” its policies vis-a-vis renting to recipients of “income assistance” (which, in most parts of Canada, is known generically as social assistance).  […]

Huge Jump in Ontario EI Claims

Statistics Canada reported today that the number of Canadians filing Employment Insurance (EI) claims rose by 10,350 or 4.5 per cent in March, the largest monthly increase since the start of 2013. This national increase was driven by a jump of 9,480 or 12.9 per cent in Ontario, the largest monthly increase in the province […]

Chipping Away at Access to E.I.

There were two announcements this week around E.I. – both framed as “being more responsive to local labour market conditions”. What that really means is that in the three territories and Prince Edward Island, access to E.I. will become more difficult in urban areas. Employment Insurance is divided into 58 separate economic regions, and access […]

Flaherty’s Funny Math with the EI Surplus

The Parliamentary Budget Office has come out with a report, suggesting that the Conservatives will likely balance the budget ahead of schedule. But, and it’s a big but, if there were no EI surplus, there would be no balanced budget in 2016. And the annual surplus in the EI Operating Account is no small potatoes […]

Black Day for EI in July

Today, Statistics Canada reported a large monthly drop of 10,900 for July in the number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Its press release noted, “This decline brings the number of beneficiaries to a level similar to that observed before the start of the labour-market downturn in 2008.” But the number of unemployed […]

EI Premium Freeze Leaves Unemployed Canadians in the Cold

Today, finance minister Jim Flaherty announced a three-year freeze on Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, ostensibly because a stronger job market has alleviated the need for additional premium revenue. Under the current policy, employee premiums were rising each year by 5 cents per $100 earned. Flaherty had announced this policy on September 30, 2010, when 1.5 […]

EI, Self-Insurance or Three-Card Monte?

Monte Solberg, the former Conservative cabinet minister responsible for Employment Insurance, proposed to eliminate the program in a recent Sun Media column: An alternative would be to self-insure. Employee and employer premiums would accumulate in an account in each worker’s name. Including interest, anyone who managed to stay employed through their lifetime earning even a […]

EI Benefits Falling Faster Than Unemployment

Statistics Canada reported today that 12,290 fewer Canadians received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in May compared to April. EI benefits are shrinking far faster than unemployment. In percentage terms, the number of EI recipients declined as much in just the last month as unemployment declined over the past year. Between April and May, the number […]

April EI Numbers Bleak

So Erin talked about falling EI benefits last month, which got me thinking about the longer term trend here. Comparing seasonally unadjusted data for the last five Aprils, we see a steady decline in the proportion of unemployed workers that are receiving EI.  Since April 2009, unemployment in Canada has fallen by nearly 150,000, which […]

Falling EI Benefits Amid Rising Unemployment

Statistics Canada reported today that 5,200 fewer Canadians received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in March, even though 6,800 more Canadians filed EI claims. The Labour Force Survey indicates that 42,100 more Canadians were unemployed in March. In other words, the federal government provided benefits to fewer workers despite a spike in unemployment and more applications […]

Business journalists go on the attack; demonize Atlantic seasonal workers

The following is a guest post by Nick Fillmore. National business journalists and columnists have bought into Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s demeaning view that folks in the Atlantic region are backward and have a defeatist attitude. Framed in contemptuous language, they’re promoting untested economic ideas that, if adopted, would seriously damage the economy – and […]

Fact-Busting HRSDC’s “Just the Facts” on EI Changes

Attempts by the Harper Government to set the record straight over recent changes to EI simply gloss over many valid concerns that have been expressed by critics. I share a couple of EI Change Fact-Busters in solidarity with upcoming rallys on EI that will be taking place across Canada this weekend. Minister Finley states: “No one […]

A Weak Week for Canada’s Economy

On Tuesday, Statistics Canada reported that job vacancies have fallen to the lowest level recorded since it began collecting these figures two years ago. On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada projected growth of just 1.5% for this year. On Thursday, Statistics Canada reported that the number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits edged down in […]

EI and CPP Appeals consolidation begins

Regulations guiding the new Social Security Tribunal came into force April 1st, 2013, and are available online at the Canada Gazette.  The SST combines the first and second level of client appeals for CPP, OAS, and EI into one tribunal. HRSDC expects that the changes will result in $25 million in annual savings, due to […]

EI: It’s all in the details

What not to say in an interview if you’re on EI, and other nightmares The latest detail to emerge about the recent changes to EI is from the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles.  The Digest is a guide to enforcing Employment Insurance, with definitions of key terms, and elaborates on expectations of EI claimants and […]

Getting the Facts Straight on EI Changes

In a guest post at the Broadbent Institute, I flesh out some of the impacts of EI changes with three (fairly typical) hypothetical stories of unemployed Canadians. There are certainly more extreme consequences felt by some already.  At least these folks have access to the Board of Referees. Many fear that access to natural justice […]

Labour Market still weak: Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada released their January 2013 Monetary Policy Report.  Of note, the Bank downgraded its growth expectation for 2013 to 2.0% from 2.3%, and expects the Canadian economy will not reach full potential until late 2014. Several key points in the January MPR reinforce what progressive economists have been saying about the Canadian […]

Pushback on EI Changes

It has been a week and a half since changes to the definition of suitable employment and reasonable job search have come into effect.  Already, a single mom in Prince Edward Island, Marlene Giersdorf,  has become a symbol of the hardship these changes are likely to have on many Canadians in the coming months. When she […]

Re-defining (Un)Employment Insurance

Several key changes to Employment Insurance came into effect on Sunday.  The EI program is about to get Grinch-ier, especially for who happen to have needed it more than once. What Changed Some of the changes made are reasonable, some are technical, and some are misguided.  Together, these changes go some way toward redefining what […]

New historical lows in EI coverage

This  is a guest post by Paul Tulloch on the deterioration of Employment Insurance coverage, also responding Statscan’s release of EI figures for October 2012. The painful toll that job loss and unemployment can unleash on Canadian families has traditionally been managed with Canada’s once quite functional Employment Insurance (EI) program. However, today’s Statistics Canada’s EI […]

Stay the course

The Fall Economic Update was hosted this week by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce. It seems Minister Flaherty wanted to be sure of friendly faces when he announced that the 2012-2013 budget deficit will likely be $5-$7 billion higher than forecast in March. The reason for the higher deficit is that nominal GDP will be […]

Fewer Unemployed Eligible for Benefits

The annual Employment Insurance Coverage Survey is out, here.  The rate of eligibility for regular benefits from Employment Insurance is the lowest since 2003, the earliest year that there is comparable data. To qualify, a person must have worked in the past 12 months and contributed to Employment Insurance, they must have left their job for a […]

EI Lags Unemployment

Today, Statistics Canada reported that 3,400 more Canadians received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in May. It previously reported that unemployment rose by 8,000 that month. In other words, even more workers are now unemployed without EI benefits. In total, just 37% of unemployed Canadians received benefits in May (i.e. 512,600 out of 1,378,600). This proportion […]

EI: More Workers Fall Through the Cracks

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 […]

Job seeker to Job vacancy ratio remains high

Statistics Canada has released their latest data on job vacancies today, in the Daily. In March 2012 there were 5.8 job seekers for every job vacancy in Canada, down from 6.5 in March 2011. This is mostly because there were about 57 000 fewer unemployed in March 2012 than there were in March 2011, but […]

The Budget, Employment Insurance and the Unemployed

Following  are the notes on which I based presentations to the Senate National Finance Committee on June 6 and the House of Commons Finance Committee on May 29. They summarize key CLC concerns with the Budget Implementation Bill. Lack of Consultation The significant changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program proposed in Budget 2012 should […]