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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Employment Insurance Coverage Survey


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.

Coverage and eligibility of the unemployed for Employment Insurance benefits
  2001r 2002 2001 to 2002
All unemployed 1,160 1,228  
  % % change
As a proportion of all unemployed      
Potentially eligible 53.2 55.4 2.2
Eligible - Received or will receive employment insurance benefits 41.3 42.3 1.0
Eligible - Did not receive but eligible based on reported hours worked 2.7 4.2 1.5
Not eligible based on reported hours worked 9.3 8.9 -0.4
Not potentially eligible 46.8 44.6 -2.2
Left job for reason not deemed valid by the Employment Insurance Act 14.4 14.2 -0.2
No insurable employment 5.0 5.5 0.5
Has not worked in previous 12 months 27.4 25.0 -2.4
Eligible as a proportion of potentially eligible 82.6 83.9 1.3
1Average number of unemployed for the months of March, June, October and December.
rNumbers revised slightly since the 2001 release.

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.

To order custom tabulations, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (1-888-297-7355; 613-951-7355; fax: 613-951-3012;, Special Surveys Division.

Eligibility of mothers for maternity and parental benefits and duration of leave
  2000 2002
Mothers with child aged 12 months or less 314,000 329,000
As a proportion of total    
With insurable employment (%) 69.6 74.4
Received maternity or parental benefits (%) 54.9 63.3
Did not claim or receive maternity or parental benefits (%) 14.6 11.1
Without insurable employment (%) 30.4 25.6
Not worked in two years (%) 20.7 14.2
Other (includes self-employed) (%) 9.7 11.5
Mothers who received maternity or parental benefits as a proportion of mothers with insurable employment (%) 79.0 85.1
Mothers with known return plans or already returned to work1 184,000 203,000
Average duration of planned leave (in months) 7 10
Median duration of planned leave (in months) 6 11
0 to 4 months (%) 15.0 12.9
5 to 8 months (%) 67.8 17.5
9 to 12 months (%) 12.4 52.7
More than 12 months (%) 4.8 16.9
Spouse or partner claiming or intending to claim parental benefits 9,000 34,000
Percentenge of mothers with spouse claiming or intending to claim benefits (%) 3.0E 11.4
1Excludes mothers who have not worked in 2 years and self-employed mothers for whom the survey did not collect planned duration of leave.
EUse with caution.

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Date Modified: 2004-01-14 Important Notices