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Employment Insurance, November 2016

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Released: 2017-01-18

In November, 574,500 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, essentially unchanged from the previous month.

Provincially, from October to November 2016, there were more EI beneficiaries in Alberta (+3.4%), Prince Edward Island (+1.3%) and Manitoba (+1.2%), while there were fewer in Quebec (-1.8%) and Ontario (-1.3%). There was little change in the other provinces.

In the 12 months to November, the number of regular EI beneficiaries in Canada increased by 26,700 (+4.9%).

In general, 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. In addition, part of the year-over-year increase may be related to EI policy changes, such as those that came into effect in July 2016. More information on the 2016 EI changes is available on Employment and Social Development Canada's website.

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

Provincial and sub-provincial overview

In Alberta, 96,900 people received EI benefits in November, up 3.4% from the previous month. The majority of the increase occurred in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Calgary (+5.1%) and Edmonton (+4.9%). Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries in the province rose by 57.4%.

Prince Edward Island had more EI beneficiaries in November, up 1.3% from October to 7,900. In the 12 months to November, the number of EI beneficiaries increased by 4.8%.

In Manitoba, the number of EI beneficiaries rose by 1.2% to 15,700. All of the increase was in areas outside of Winnipeg. Compared with November 2015, the number of beneficiaries in Manitoba increased by 2.7%.

In contrast, the number of EI recipients in Quebec fell for the fourth consecutive month, down 1.8% from October to 135,300. Declines were largely observed throughout the province, with Montréal reporting a 2.0% decrease. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries in the province was down 10.2%.

Ontario also had fewer beneficiaries in November, down 1.3% from October to 137,700. This decline was primarily driven by the CMAs, particularly Toronto (-3.0%). Windsor (+9.7%) was the lone CMA in the province with notably more beneficiaries in November. In the 12 months to November, the number of EI beneficiaries in Ontario decreased by 5.9%.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, November 2015 to November 2016
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, November 2015 to November 2016

Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

Looking at EI beneficiaries based on their last occupation, increases were observed in 7 of the 10 major occupation groups in the 12 months to November, most notably in natural and applied sciences (+10.8%), management (+9.5%) as well as business, finance and administration (+9.3%).

In contrast, there were fewer beneficiaries whose last job was in the occupational group of education, law and social, community and government services (-9.0%). The number of beneficiaries was little changed in art, culture, recreation and sport, as well as in manufacturing and utilities.

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

In November, there were fewer women aged 25 to 54 receiving EI benefits, down 1.0% from October. Over the same period, the number of male recipients aged 15 to 24 edged up 0.9%.

Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of EI beneficiaries increased across all demographic groups except women aged 25 to 54, for whom the number held steady. The largest increase occurred among people aged 55 and older, up 11.1% for men and 9.1% for women. The number of beneficiaries also increased for young women aged 15 to 24 (+8.3%).

Employment Insurance claims

Employment Insurance claims totalled 231,700 in November, down 1.4% from the previous month. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

EI claims fell in Saskatchewan (-19.5%), following an increase in October. There were also fewer EI claims in Manitoba (-9.7%), Prince Edward Island (-7.7%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-4.6%), Alberta (-3.3%), British Columbia (-2.9%), New Brunswick (-2.1%) and Nova Scotia (-1.5%). In contrast, the number of EI claims increased in Ontario (+2.1%), while it was little changed in Quebec.

Compared with November 2015, EI claims were down 3.7% at the national level.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims
Employment Insurance claims

  Note to readers

Concepts and methodology

Employment Insurance (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 most recent series of changes were introduced in July 2016.

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 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.

Numbers in the Daily text are rounded to the nearest hundred.

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 November 6 to 12. 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 Employment Insurance for December 2016 will be released on February 16, 2017.


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).

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 Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750;, Labour Statistics Division.

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