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 is about a 10% decline […]

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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 for benefits. As a result, […]

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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 the people – of the […]

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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 February. Meanwhile, the Labour Force […]

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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 centralized administration and the magic […]

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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 penalties for errors. In Chapter […]

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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 labour market. Since 2010, more […]

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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 refused to expand her job […]

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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 employment insurance is all about, […]

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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 report for October, confirms that […]

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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 lower than expected, which in […]

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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 valid reason (layoff is valid, […]

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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 was as low as 26% […]

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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 not getting benefits. In total, […]

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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 not be implemented without a […]

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The Economics of EI “Reform”

Changes to the EI rules announced by the government today are not rooted in any lengthy policy rationale. But Minister Finley and and the media release spoke to the need to “strengthen work incentives.” This conjures up images of  unemployed workers sitting around and spurning job offers amidst growing labour and skills shortages. As I have previously commented, this framing […]

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Key EI Data No Longer Available

As Heather Scoffield of Canadian Press reports here, Statistics Canada are no longer publishing key EI data because HRSDC have stopped providing it. Data on the dollar value of EI regular benefits are not published in the monthly Statscan release, but were available each month on CANSIM…  until March of this year. As reported on Sam Boshra’s Economic Justice blog, […]

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Shrinking EI

Statistics Canada reported today that 2,500 fewer Canadians received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in March. In total, only 549,400 out of 1,356,200 officially unemployed workers got benefits. The context for proposals to clamp down on EI is that only 40% of unemployed Canadians currently receive benefits. The Harper government wants to exclude even more jobless workers from a program they paid […]

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HRSDC Funded Research Contradicts Key Argument For New EI Policy

According to today’s Globe, the government says that the major target of pending changes to EI is frequent claimants, who are disproportionately to be found in  the high unemployment regions. This focus seems to reflect the common belief that supposedly “overgenerous” EI benefits stop some people from moving from high to low unemployment regions. Interesting to note, then, that research […]

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Tightening the Screws on the Unemployed

The significant changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program which are to be quickly implemented through Budget 2012 with very little consultation have not received enough critical attention. First, a word on what is not in the Budget. It is disappointing, to say the least, that the government is failing to respond to the fact that less than 40% of […]

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Below 40% of the Unemployed Get EI

Statistics Canada reported today that 12,400 more Canadians received Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits in January. The increase in recipients reflected higher unemployment. Indeed, the proportion of jobless workers receiving benefits remained 39% (i.e. 561,060 beneficiaries out of 1,421,200 officially unemployed Canadians.) Only 28% of unemployed Ontarians received EI benefits in January (i.e. 163,570 beneficiaries out of 593,400 unemployed), an […]

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Drummond Misdiagnoses Ontario’s Economy

The Harvard International Review has posted an interview with Don Drummond. I have posted the following response: It is good Drummond confesses that his free-market policy prescriptions failed to improve productivity, but old habits apparently die hard: “We have an Employment Insurance scheme that basically dissuades people from going where the jobs are. We still have interprovincial trade barriers.” The […]

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EI Shrank by 100,000 in 2011

Statistics Canada reported today that the number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance rose by 4,230 in December, a month in which unemployment rose by 6,100. The proportion of unemployed workers receiving benefits remained below 39% (i.e. 544,720 beneficiaries out of 1.4 million unemployed). Although December saw relatively little change in these totals, it capped off a year in which Canada’s […]

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Evidence vs. Ivison

If the National Post’s John Ivison wanted to agitate this blog’s authors, he could not have done much better than last week’s commentary on the census numbers. It was printed on the front page under the headline “Jobs in the West, jobless in the East; EI impeding labour mobility.” To paint a picture of eastern Canadians loafing around on Employment […]

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Job Shortages? What Shortages?

Sigh. Here we go again. More evidence-free corporate policy advocacy. The Chamber of Commerce put out a report today – actually I can’t find much in the way of background research on their web site – which points with alarm to labour and skills shortages, and calls for a less generous EI program to get workers to move to the […]

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Wall Strikes Out on Fiscal Federalism

Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall recently issued a statement exhorting his fellow Premiers to blaze largely unspecified new trails on healthcare, Employment Insurance and Equalization. Unfortunately, he misses the ball on all three issues. Greg Fingas and Verda Petry have already refuted Wall’s call for further healthcare privatization. On Employment Insurance, Wall implies that eastern Canadians are collecting excessive benefits funded by […]

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EI Benefits Decline Amid Rising Unemployment

Today, Statistics Canada reported that the number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell for a third consecutive month in November. This decline would be good news if it reflected an improving labour market. Unfortunately, unemployment has also increased for three consecutive months. The trend is a dwindling number of beneficiaries among a growing pool of jobless workers. An […]

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