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Employment Insurance, July 2015

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Released: 2015-09-17

In July, 10,500 more people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits compared with June, up 2.0% to 545,200. On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI beneficiaries increased by 36,100 or 7.1%.

Most of the increase in July was in British Columbia and Ontario, where the number of beneficiaries rose 3.9% and 3.6% respectively. Smaller increases were recorded in Alberta (+1.8%), Quebec (+1.4%) and Saskatchewan (+1.2%).

In contrast, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 2.5% in Manitoba and 1.5% in Newfoundland and Labrador, whereas the remaining provinces saw little change.

The change in the number of regular EI beneficiaries reflects various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, people going back to work and people no longer receiving regular benefits.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries
Number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries

Provincial and sub-provincial overview

In British Columbia, 55,200 people received EI benefits in July, up 3.9% from June. Three of the four metropolitan areas in the province recorded increases: Kelowna (+7.3%), Victoria (+4.6%) and Vancouver (+2.7%). There was virtually no change in Abbotsford–Mission. Additionally, there were more people receiving benefits outside the metropolitan areas (+5.0%).

Ontario also saw an increase in the number of beneficiaries, up 3.6% to 153,600 in July. This was the largest increase in the number of beneficiaries for the province since June 2009. Of the 15 metropolitan areas in Ontario, Oshawa recorded the largest increase (+36.6%). Nine other metropolitan areas also posted increases, ranging from 1.9% in Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo to 9.5% in Peterborough. Kingston was the lone metropolitan area with a decline (-4.2%), while the remaining metropolitan areas saw little change.

The number of beneficiaries in Alberta rose for the ninth consecutive month, up 1.8% to 52,700. However, this increase was smaller than those recorded in recent months. The largest increases in July came from Albertans who had last worked in natural and applied sciences (+5.7%), management (+4.5%) and in trades, transport and as equipment operators (+3.4%). Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries in the province was up 72.2%.

Most of the increase in July came from the metropolitan area of Edmonton (+4.6%), with the number of beneficiaries totalling 17,800, marking a ninth consecutive monthly increase. There was little change in Calgary and a slight increase (+1.6%) for the rest of the province.

Following several months of little change, the number of people receiving benefits in Quebec rose by 1.4% to 153,000. Most of the increase in July came from regions outside the metropolitan areas and census agglomerations.

Saskatchewan posted a small increase in the number of beneficiaries, up 1.2% to 13,800 in July. This was the eighth consecutive monthly gain for the province. Saskatoon accounted for most of the July increase (+3.9%).

The number of beneficiaries in Manitoba fell 2.5% in July to 13,900. Both the metropolitan area of Winnipeg and the rest of the province posted declines.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries was down 1.5% to 31,600 in July, with the decline spread across the province.

Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

Compared with July 2014, there were more EI recipients among workers whose last job was in primary industry (+19.5%), natural and applied sciences (+16.0%) and in trades, transport and as equipment operators (+14.3%). These three categories have been leading the increases among all 10 major occupation groups in recent months.

There was also an increase among people who had held management jobs (+4.3%) before becoming beneficiaries, as well as those who last worked in business, finance and administration (+2.4%). In contrast, there were fewer beneficiaries who last worked in art, culture, recreation and sport (-6.0%), and there was little change among the remaining occupations.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, July 2014 to July 2015
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, July 2014 to July 2015

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

Compared with June, there were more EI beneficiaries among all age groups in July, most notably for people aged 25 to 54 (+2.4% or +8,500). For this group, the increase was greater among women (+4.1%) than men (+1.3%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries continued on an upward trend for all age groups.

Employment Insurance claims

Following two consecutive monthly increases, the number of EI claims fell by 12.6% to 229,200 in July (see note to readers). The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

EI claims fell in six provinces, led by Ontario (-27.9%), British Columbia (-12.8%) and Alberta (-12.4%). Claims also declined in New Brunswick (-4.0%), Saskatchewan (-2.6%) and Manitoba (-1.0%).

However, claims increased in Nova Scotia (+5.4%), Newfoundland and Labrador (+4.0%) and Prince Edward Island (+1.7%).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims
Employment Insurance claims

  Note to readers

Regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are available to eligible individuals who lose their jobs and who are available for and able to work, but cannot find a job. To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

There is always a certain proportion of unemployed people who do not qualify for benefits. Some unemployed people have not contributed to the program because they have not worked in the past 12 months or their employment is not insured. Other unemployed people have contributed to the program but do not meet the eligibility criteria, such as workers who left their job voluntarily or those who did not accumulate enough hours of work to receive benefits.

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see "Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions."

EI statistics are produced from administrative data sources provided by Service Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada. These statistics may, from time to time, be affected by changes to the Employment Insurance Act or administrative procedures.

The number of regular EI beneficiaries and the number of claims received for the current and previous month are subject to revision.

The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all people who received EI benefits from July 12 to 18. This period coincides with the reference week of the Labour Force Survey (LFS). However, initial and renewal claims data are for the entire month.

EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits, and should not be confused with LFS data, which provide information on the total number of unemployed people.

Claims estimates in the summer

Claims estimates in June and July could have been affected by irregular calendar effects. As a consequence, some claims that would normally be received in the first week of July may have been received in late June. Therefore, data should be interpreted with caution and users should focus on long-term trends.

Geographical definitions

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre. A CMA, also referred to as a 'metropolitan area' in this release, must have a total population of at least 100,000. A CA must have a population of at least 10,000. See "Standard Geographical Classification 2011 – Definitions" for more information.

Next release

EI data for August will be released on October 22.

Historical revision

With the October 22 release of August data, seasonally adjusted series of EI statistics will be revised to reflect the most recent seasonal factors.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Lahouaria Yssaad (613-951-0627;, Labour Statistics Division.

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