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 implication is that EI recipients are exhausting their benefits without finding jobs.

The proportion of unemployed Canadians receiving EI benefits fell to 38.6% in November (i.e. 539,010 beneficiaries out of 1,394,700 unemployed workers). Statistics Canada reported an especially large decline in Ontario, where just 27.0% of unemployed workers received benefits (i.e. 156,330 beneficiaries out of 579,800 unemployed workers).

The administration of EI has recently attracted negative attention. While administrative improvements are undoubtedly warranted, more substantive policy changes are needed to increase the accessibility and duration of benefits for workers unemployed due to global economic factors beyond their control.

One comment

  • in the fall of ’97 i wrote the same article for a local labor mag in hamilton, on.

    i am in the states now and often friends criticize me for being here. but the fact is that there are too few jobs in canada to sustain job-seekers and one must eat.

    my cndn friends also try to argue that things are rosier than they really are in ca. this seems to be a congenital, reflexive response rather than one based in critical thinking.

    there seems to me to be a lack of empirical understanding among cndns re. the basic social indicators.

    i suspect this is partly apathy among my upper-mid-class friends but also partly a growing trend across the country; people are too busy trying to make ends meet to spend much time thinking about/caring about the very conditions that will determine their possible success in this endeavour.

    it’s the same thing that is happening here in the states.

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