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Employment Insurance, November 2021

Released: 2022-01-20

Approximately 692,000 Canadians received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in November, down by 50,000 (-6.7%) from October.

November EI statistics reflect labour market conditions during the week of November 7 to 13, 2021.

Public health measures in early to mid-November were largely similar to those in place in October. In some jurisdictions, most notably in Ontario and Quebec, capacity limits and physical distancing requirements had been further eased in settings where proof of vaccination is required.

Fewer Canadians collect regular EI benefits in November

The number of Canadians receiving regular EI benefits dropped by 50,000 (-6.7%) in November to 692,000. There were 1.0 million fewer regular EI beneficiaries in November than in May 2021, when the number of regular EI beneficiaries reached its COVID-19 pandemic peak.

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), unemployment fell by 122,000 to 1.24 million in November. The unemployed included 1.15 million Canadians who were looking for work and 90,000 who had a connection to a job, either because they were on temporary layoff or had arrangements to begin a new job in the near future.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Fewer regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in November
Fewer regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in November

The number of regular EI beneficiaries decreases in all provinces

The number of regular EI beneficiaries fell in all provinces in November. Nova Scotia (-12.1%; -5,000) posted the largest percentage decline, followed by British Columbia (-11.0%; -8,000) and Manitoba (-10.2%; -3,000), while Saskatchewan (-4.2%; -900) and Alberta (-5.0%; -4,000) posted the smallest declines.

On a regional basis, the three census metropolitan areas (CMAs) with the largest proportional decreases in regular EI beneficiaries in November were in British Columbia. These included Abbotsford–Mission (-18.4%; -600), Kelowna (-14.8%; -600) and Vancouver (-12.1%; -4,000). Despite the decrease in recipients in the month, the Vancouver CMA accounted for a higher share of British Columbia's regular EI beneficiaries in November (42.5%) than prior to the pandemic, in November 2019 (34.2%).

Over half of longer-term regular EI recipients last worked in sales and service occupations or in trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations

In November, among EI recipients who received regular EI benefits in at least 10 of the previous 12 months, one-third (33.4%) last worked in sales and service occupations, and almost one-quarter (24.5%) last worked in trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations (not seasonally adjusted). Among longer-term regular EI beneficiaries in these two occupation groups, almost one-quarter (24.1%) worked while on claim. By comparison, natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations (7.2%) had the smallest proportion of longer-term regular EI beneficiaries who worked while on claim.

Five industries account for nearly half of regular EI recipients

In November, nearly half (49.5%) of regular EI recipients last worked in one of the following five industries: 14.2% in construction; 10.1% in retail trade; 9.9% in manufacturing; 8.1% in accommodation and food services; and 7.2% in administrative and support services (not seasonally adjusted). According to November LFS results, employment in accommodation and food services (-16.5%; -202,000) remained further from its pre-pandemic February 2020 level than that in all other industries.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Nearly half of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries last worked in one of five industries
Nearly half of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries last worked in one of five industries

Bigger drop in regular EI beneficiaries among core-aged men than core-aged women

The number of core-aged men (25 to 54 years) receiving regular EI benefits fell by 16,000 (-6.3%) in November, more than 1.5 times larger than the decrease among core-aged women (-10,000; -5.3%). November LFS results showed that unemployment fell by 52,000 among core-aged men and by 43,000 among core-aged women.

The decline in the number of women aged 55 years and older (-10,000; -10.8%) receiving regular EI benefits was larger than the decrease among men in the same age group (-8,000; -6.6%). According to the November LFS, employment rose by 19,000 among older women, bringing their level of employment to within 2.2% of its pre-pandemic level. Employment for older men has been on par with or has exceeded its pre-pandemic level since March 2021.

Long-term unemployment reflected in regular EI benefits

There were fewer new entrants to the EI program in November than in previous months. The number of new regular EI recipients—that is, those who were not recipients of regular EI benefits in the previous month—was 154,000 in November, compared with 211,000 new entrants in November 2020 (not seasonally adjusted).

Half (50.6%; 324,000) of regular EI recipients in November 2021 had received regular EI benefits, up from 16.1% in February 2020 (not seasonally adjusted). Approximately half of both women (52.1%) and men (49.4%) beneficiaries in November received regular EI benefits in at least 7 of the last 12 months. Among longer-term regular EI recipients, over half (54.7%) were core-aged (aged 25 to 54 years), similar to the share of this age group among the long-term unemployed as measured by the LFS. By province, the proportion of EI recipients who had received regular EI benefits in at least 7 of the last 12 months ranged from 42.0% in Manitoba to 65.1% in Newfoundland and Labrador.

November LFS results showed that one-quarter (25.6%) of all unemployed Canadians had been continuously out of work for 27 weeks or more, compared with 15.6% in February 2020.

Next release

Information on the profile of regular EI recipients for the week of December 5 to 15, 2021 will be released on February 17, 2022.

Sustainable Development Goals

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

Employment Insurance statistics are an example of how Statistics Canada supports reporting on global sustainable development goals. This release will be used to help measure the following goal:

  Note to readers

Employment Insurance in the context of broader COVID-19 benefit programs

No methodological changes have been made to the Employment Insurance Statistics (EIS) program over the COVID-19 pandemic period. EIS reflect the Employment Insurance (EI) program for the Labour Force Survey (LFS) reference week in each month.

Data for the October 2020 reference period and onward comprise individuals who obtained EI benefits and exclude beneficiaries of the Canada recovery benefits (Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit).

Concepts and methodology

The analysis focuses on people who received regular EI benefits related to job loss.

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.

EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits and should not be confused with 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, unless otherwise specified. Values for all series from March 2020 to November 2021 have been treated as outliers in determining a seasonal pattern for seasonal adjustment. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

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

The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all people who received regular EI benefits from November 7 to 13, 2021. This period coincides with the reference week of the LFS.

EI beneficiaries by industry

The industry of EI beneficiaries is determined by integrating EI data with record of employment administrative data. For beneficiaries with more than one record of employment in the 52 weeks prior to the reference week, the records with the greatest number of hours are used. If no industry information can be found, industry information is deemed "Not classified" for the beneficiary.

EI beneficiaries by number of months on EI or Canada Emergency Response Benefit over the previous 12 months

This supplementary indicator presents the number of regular EI recipients who received either regular EI benefits or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for a defined number of months over the previous 12 months.

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or 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 2016 – Definitions for more information.

Data availability

In the data tables 14-10-0004, 14-10-0005, 14-10-0007 and 14-10-0008, for the March to September 2020 reference periods, data have been suppressed because a source data file contains records for CERB claimants and beneficiaries who could not be identified and excluded through processing.

Next release

Data on EI for December 2021 will be released on February 17, 2022.


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; or Media Relations (

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