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 of unemployed Canadians decreased by only 1% while the number of EI beneficiaries decreased by 2.4%. Compared to May of last year, the number of unemployed workers was down by 2.4% but the number of EI beneficiaries was down by 7.4%.

We already know from the Labour Force Survey that unemployment rose in June. The downward trend in EI is troubling given that more workers will likely need benefits.

The federal government is cutting back EI too quickly given that unemployment is barely decreasing. As Armine points out, EI coverage is now at its lowest level since World War II.

UPDATE (July 19): Quoted on page D1 of today’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix


  • I’m sorry to say that a lot of Canadians with a strong interest in this topic, who are not trained in economics, will find this article more or less opaque.

  • Saw you today Erin on a vid from The Big Picture “debating” EI with a right-wing lunatic (Kevin O’Leary) and a slightly less right-wing lunatic (William Robson). That’s a nice book-ending trick they pull to make Robson look like the “middle-of-the-road” advocate. I had to laugh at O’Leary calling openly for means-testing when Robson wanted the same thing (but just for fishermen and other “lazy” people out East).

    You looked good, though, presented good facts. Let’s hope enough people saw the exchange.

  • Thanks, Todd. They should add you to the panel so that I can look “middle-of-the-road” sometimes.

  • I wouldn’t mind playing the part of the fSU if it helped win even some moderate change.

    You can have your agent call my agent, and we’ll do lunch.

    Ciao, Dahling

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *