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Employment Insurance, August 2019

Released: 2019-10-24

In August, 453,200 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, virtually unchanged from the previous month. There were increases in Quebec (+2.8%) and Prince Edward Island (+1.6%), while there was a decrease in Ontario (-1.4%).

From August 2018 to August 2019, the number of regular EI beneficiaries in Canada decreased by 10,300 (-2.2%). Over the same period, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) reported that employment increased 2.5%, while the unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 5.7%. The number of beneficiaries declined in seven provinces, led by Newfoundland and Labrador (-4.6%) and Quebec (-4.6%). This decrease was partially offset by increases in New Brunswick (+4.0%) and British Columbia (+1.5%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Little change in regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in August
Little change in regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in August

In general, variations in the number of beneficiaries can reflect changes in the circumstances 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.

Provincial and sub-provincial overview

In August, the number of regular EI beneficiaries in Quebec increased 2.8% to 111,900, continuing an upward trend that began in April. Increases were recorded in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Québec (+3.5%) and Montréal (+2.0%), as well as in regions outside the CMAs and census agglomerations (CAs) (+3.0%). Despite increases in recent months, the number of regular EI beneficiaries in the province was down 4.6% year over year.

The number of regular EI beneficiaries in Prince Edward Island increased for the second consecutive month, up 1.6% to 7,700 in August. Most of this increase occurred in areas outside the CAs (+2.1%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients in the province was little changed.

In August, there were 118,100 regular EI beneficiaries in Ontario, down 1.4% from the previous month. Decreases were concentrated in the CMAs of Windsor (-5.8%) and Toronto (-2.1%). At the provincial level, there was a notable decline in the number of people receiving EI benefits who last worked in occupations in manufacturing and utilities (-8.4%). Compared with August 2018, the number of recipients in Ontario was down 1.8%.

In British Columbia, the number of EI beneficiaries was little changed in August, although it decreased 2.2% in regions outside the CMAs and CAs. On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients in the province increased 1.5% to 42,300. Over the same period, the LFS reported that the unemployment rate was little changed.

In August, 50,600 people received regular EI benefits in Alberta, little changed from the previous month. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of EI recipients decreased 3.5%. This decline was driven by a decrease in the number of beneficiaries who last worked in trades, transport and equipment operations and related occupations (-9.6%).

Chart 2  Chart 2: Employment Insurance beneficiaries increase in Quebec and Prince Edward Island in August
Employment Insurance beneficiaries increase in Quebec and Prince Edward Island in August

Claims overview

In August, there were 235,700 EI claims, a 3.1% decrease from the previous month. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries. Claims data pertain to initial and renewal claims received for any type of EI benefits, which includes special benefits.

The number of claims was down in nine provinces, led by Saskatchewan (-8.9%) and Alberta (-8.4%). At the same time, the number increased in New Brunswick (+2.5%).

Compared with 12 months earlier, there was a 1.5% decrease in the number of claims. The decline was most pronounced in Newfoundland and Labrador (-13.0%), with smaller declines in Prince Edward Island (-4.2%), Nova Scotia (-3.7%) and Ontario (-3.2%). In contrast, increases were observed in New Brunswick (+3.2%) and British Columbia (+2.7%).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims down in August
Employment Insurance claims down in August





Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

Employment Insurance Statistics are an example of how Statistics Canada supports the reporting on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This release will be used in helping to measure the following goal:

  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 all types 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 paid 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 jobs 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 month and the previous month are subject to revision.

The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all people who received regular EI benefits from August 11 to 17. 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 census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centered 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 2016 – definitions for more information.

Next release

Data on EI for September will be released on November 21.

Products

More information about the concepts and use of Employment Insurance statistics is available in the Guide to Employment Insurance Statistics (Catalogue number73-506-G).

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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