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Employment Insurance, June 2018

Released: 2018-08-23

In June, 460,000 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, up slightly (+3,800 or +0.8%) from May.

The number of beneficiaries rose in Quebec (+4.0%) and Nova Scotia (+2.3%), while it was relatively stable in the remaining provinces.

Compared with June 2017, the number of EI recipients in Canada declined by 71,100 (-13.4%).

In general, variations in the number of beneficiaries can reflect changes in the circumstances of a number of different groups, including those becoming beneficiaries, those going back to work, those exhausting their regular benefits, and those no longer receiving benefits for other reasons.

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

Provincial and sub-provincial overview

In Quebec, the number of people receiving benefits rose by 4.0% to 113,700 in June, entirely due to growth in the number of male beneficiaries. At the occupational level, the increase was largely attributable to those formerly employed in trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations. In the first weeks of June, a labour dispute involving crane operators disrupted a number of construction sites in Quebec. Growth in the number of beneficiaries was widespread across the province, including a 4.4% increase in the Montréal census metropolitan area (CMA). Despite the monthly rise in Quebec, the number of recipients fell 14.1% on a year-over-year basis, mainly due to declines from September 2017 to April 2018. The Labour Force Survey (LFS) also recorded a drop in the unemployment rate from 6.0% to 5.4% in the 12 months to June.

The number of EI recipients in Nova Scotia increased by 2.3% to 27,000 in June. Growth was recorded in areas outside the CMA and census agglomerations (CAs) (+3.4%) and in the CAs (+2.1%). According to data from the LFS, the provincial unemployment rate rose from 6.7% in April to 7.9% in June. Compared with June 2017, the number of beneficiaries declined by 2.9%.

In Ontario, the number of EI beneficiaries was virtually unchanged in June, totalling 119,500. Among the CMAs, there were increases in Thunder Bay (+5.2%) and St. Catharines–Niagara (+2.0%), while the number of beneficiaries declined in Oshawa (-6.0%), Barrie (-4.1%), Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo (-1.7%) and Toronto (-1.3%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of recipients fell by 10.6%. After trending down from April 2017, the number of beneficiaries in the province has been relatively stable since March 2018.

There were 53,200 people receiving EI benefits in Alberta in June, practically unchanged from May. An increase in the Edmonton CMA (+3.8%) was offset by declines in Calgary (-2.9%), the CAs (-3.2%) and areas outside the CMAs and CAs (-1.7%). In the 12 months to June, Alberta continued to have the fastest year-over-year decline among the provinces, with the number of recipients down 25.7%. Data from the LFS show the unemployment rate fell from 7.5% to 6.5% over this period.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by province, May to June 2018
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by province, May to June 2018

Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of EI beneficiaries decreased in all 10 broad occupational groups in June. Those whose last job was in education, law and social, community and government services (-19.9%) led the declines, followed by business, finance and administration (-17.5%) and health (-16.4%). In New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, the number of beneficiaries fell across all broad occupational groups.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, June 2017 to June 2018
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, June 2017 to June 2018

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

From May to June, the number of beneficiaries grew among men aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 54. In both groups, most of the rise was due to increases in Quebec. At the same time, the number of beneficiaries was little changed at the national level among men aged 55 and older. For women, the number of EI recipients declined across all major age groups.

Compared with June 2017, the number of beneficiaries decreased in all major demographic groups. The largest declines were among women aged 15 to 24 (-20.2%) and 25 to 54 (-15.1%).

Employment Insurance claims

There were 236,200 claims in June, up 3.7% from May. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

Claims rose notably in New Brunswick (+11.9%) and Prince Edward Island (+10.0%). There were smaller increases in Alberta (+5.8%), Nova Scotia (+5.4%), Quebec (+5.2%), Saskatchewan (+4.0%), Ontario (+2.6%) and Manitoba (+2.0%). At the same time, the number of claims decreased for the second consecutive month in Newfoundland and Labrador (-4.3%), while there was little change in British Columbia.

In the 12 months to June, the number of claims was down slightly (-0.6%) at the national level.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Employment Insurance claims
Employment Insurance claims

  Note to readers

Concepts and methodology

The analysis presented here focuses on people who received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits related to job loss. Claims data pertain to initial and renewal claims received for any type of EI benefits, including special benefits.

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.

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.

EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits, and should not be confused with Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, which provide estimates of the total number of unemployed people. 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 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 June 10 to 16. This period coincides with the reference week of the LFS. However, claims data are for the entire month.

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 July will be released on September 20.


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 Hardy (613-290-3707; or Client Services (toll free: 1-866-873-8788;, Labour Statistics Division.

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