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Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Employment Insurance Coverage Survey2002
The proportion of unemployed Canadians potentially eligible for Employment Insurance benefits increased slightly in 2002, according to data from the Employment Insurance Coverage Survey.
About 680,000 people, or 55.4% of unemployed individuals, were potentially eligible to receive employment insurance benefits, up from 53.2% in 2001.
Of these individuals who were potentially eligible, an estimated 571,000, or 83.9%, accumulated enough hours of paid work to make a claim. This was the highest ratio of unemployed effectively eligible for employment insurance benefits since the survey began in 1997.
The most common reason for not being covered by the Employment Insurance program was still the lack of employment during the previous 12 months. However, in 2002, only about 25% of unemployed individuals were not potentially eligible for this reason. This proportion has been declining steadily since 1997 when it was 34.7%.
In 2002, nearly two-thirds (63.3%) of mothers with a child up to 12 months of age received maternity or parental benefits at some point during their pregnancy, or after the birth or adoption of their child. This was up substantially from 54.9% in 2000.
Two factors may have contributed to this increase: the lowering of the eligibility criteria to 600 hours of insurable employment, and an overall increase in the proportion of mothers with insurable employment. This proportion reached 74.4% in 2002, up from 69.6% in 2000.
(In January 2001, the number of weeks of parental benefits that either parent could take increased from 10 to 35 weeks. At the same time, the number of insurable hours required to qualify was reduced to 600 from 700. Results for 2002 are compared with 2000, the year preceding the implementation of extended parental leave.)
The impact of the extension of the parental benefit program is clearly reflected in the duration of the leave taken for the birth or adoption of a child. Among paid workers, the average duration of the leave or planned leave increased from seven months in 2000 to 10 months in 2002.
Similar data are not available for self-employed mothers since the survey does not gather information on the return intentions of self-employed still on leave at the time of the interview. However, one in three self-employed mothers had already gone back to work two months after the birth of their child, compared with only 5% of paid workers.
In 2002, 11.4% of fathers claimed or intended to claim parental benefits. The mother's desire to stay with her child was the most frequently reported reason for the father's not taking parental leave. Nearly one-half the mothers who themselves received maternity-related benefits reported that reason. Another 17% said it was easier for them to take the time off work, while 14% said it was more financially advantageous if they, not their husband, stayed home.
Note: The Employment Insurance Coverage Survey has been conducted for Human Resources Development Canada since 1997. The survey is conducted in four cycles each year, in April, July, November and January. In 2000, the survey was expanded to help monitor the effect of the extended parental benefit program. In 2002, a total of 2,616 unemployed and 1,233 mothers of a child less than one year old were surveyed. The survey permits a systematic assessment of the categories of workers and their eligibility and access to the Employment Insurance benefits program.
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 4428.
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