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Employment Insurance, June 2016

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Released: 2016-08-18

Regular Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries in Canada totalled 545,900 in June, essentially unchanged from May. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits was up by 8,000 or 1.5%.

In June, the number of EI beneficiaries increased in Prince Edward Island (+6.5%), New Brunswick (+5.5%) and Nova Scotia (+1.0%), while it fell in British Columbia (-2.1%) and Manitoba (-1.3%). There was little change in the remaining provinces.

Changes in the number of regular EI beneficiaries reflect various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, those going back to work, and those no longer receiving regular benefits.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries

Provincial and sub-provincial overview

Following a decrease in May, the number of regular EI beneficiaries in Prince Edward Island rose by 6.5% to 8,000 in June. Increases were observed across the province, with the exception of the census agglomeration (CA) of Charlottetown, where the number of beneficiaries edged down. Compared with June 2015, the number of EI recipients in Prince Edward Island was up 10.2%.

After four consecutive months of decreases, the number of beneficiaries in New Brunswick rose by 5.5% in June, bringing the total number of recipients to 34,100. Virtually all of the increase was observed in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Saint John (+3.3%) and areas outside of the CMAs and CAs (+8.3%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries in New Brunswick was up 5.6%.

The number of beneficiaries in Nova Scotia (+1.0%) rose slightly to 27,600 in June, with the increase being widespread across the province, except in the CA of Cape Breton (-4.5%), where fewer people received benefits. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries in Nova Scotia was down 2.5%.

In British Columbia, 50,200 people received benefits in June, down 2.1% from the previous month and continuing the downward trend that began in August 2015. As was the case throughout much of the province, all four CMAs posted declines in June, ranging from 5.0% in Kelowna to 2.1% in Victoria. The number of beneficiaries in British Columbia fell by 5.8% compared with June 2015.

For the third month in a row, there were fewer beneficiaries in Manitoba, down 1.3% to 14,900 in June, with the decrease occurring in most areas of the province. In the 12 months to June, the number of beneficiaries in Manitoba was up 3.6%.

While Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta recorded little change in the number of EI beneficiaries in June, this was not the case for some areas within these provinces.

For Newfoundland and Labrador, increases in St. John's (+3.0%) and the CAs (+2.6%) were offset by decreases elsewhere in the province. On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients in Newfoundland and Labrador was up 5.9%.

Among the six CMAs in Quebec, Sherbrooke (-7.1%) and Saguenay (-1.5%) had fewer EI recipients, while Trois-Rivières had more (+1.5%). At the same time, Montréal, Gatineau and Québec recorded little change. There was also little change in the CAs, while an increase of 1.6% was observed elsewhere in the province. The number of EI beneficiaries in Quebec totalled 141,400 in June, down 6.8% from the same month a year earlier.

In Ontario, the number of EI recipients in June fell in 6 of the 15 CMAs, most notably in St. Catharines–Niagara (-2.5%), Toronto (-2.1%) and Greater Sudbury (-2.0%). At the same time, five areas showed increases, with the largest occurring in Oshawa (+4.7%). Little or no change was observed in the rest of the province. The total number of EI beneficiaries in Ontario was down 8.4% from 12 months earlier to 136,400 in June, the largest year-over-year decline among the provinces.

In Saskatchewan, 16,200 people received EI benefits in June, with Saskatoon (+1.2%) posting slightly more beneficiaries, while the rest of the province recorded little change. Compared with 12 months earlier, however, the number of beneficiaries in Saskatchewan was up 19.0%, the second largest increase on a year-over-year basis after Alberta.

Following an increase of 11.4% in May, the number of EI beneficiaries in Alberta was essentially unchanged (-0.8%) at 77,200 in June. While the number of beneficiaries declined by 2.7% in Edmonton, it rose by 3.5% in the CA of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, continuing the increase reported in the previous month (+115.4%). On a year-over-year basis, the total number of beneficiaries in Alberta was up 48.0%.

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

Men aged 55 and older saw an increase in the number of regular EI beneficiaries in June (+2.1%), while there was little change for the other demographic groups.

Compared with June 2015, the number of beneficiaries increased by 2.9% for men aged 25 to 54 and by 6.8% for those 55 and older, while it fell by 2.9% among women aged 25 to 54 and was little changed for the other groups.

Employment Insurance claims

Following an increase of 9.6% in May, EI claims fell by 10.6% (-28,000) to 235,200 in June. Just as the national rise in May was mostly attributable to Alberta, so too was the national decrease observed in June. Claims in the province fell by 24,500 (-44.7%) in June, following an increase of 69.8% in May.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Employment Insurance claims in Alberta
Employment Insurance claims in Alberta

Claims also fell in Prince Edward Island (-12.9%), Saskatchewan (-7.5%), New Brunswick (-6.3%), Ontario (-5.1%) and Nova Scotia (-1.7%), while they increased in Manitoba (+2.4%), Quebec (+1.7%), British Columbia (+1.5%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+1.3%).

Compared with 12 months earlier, EI claims in Canada were down 13.0% (-35,100) in June, with most of this decrease occurring in Ontario and British Columbia.

The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims in Canada
Employment Insurance claims in Canada

  Note to readers

Availability of data by occupation

Information on Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries by occupation will not be available until the completion of the reclassification of the administrative files to the 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) from the 2006 National Occupational Classification for Statistics (NOC-S).

As a result, the table, "Beneficiaries receiving regular income benefits by occupation," is not available in The Daily. In addition, CANSIM tables 276-0040 and 276-0041 cannot be updated and will be replaced by new CANSIM tables once the reclassification is completed.

Concepts and methodology

Regular 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 was 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 information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Data presented in the Daily text are rounded to the nearest hundred.

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 June 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.

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 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

Data on EI for July will be released on September 22.


More information about the concepts and use of Employment Insurance statistics is available online in the Guide to Employment Insurance Statistics (Catalogue number73-506-G), from the Browse by key resource module of our website, under Publications.

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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