EI Lags Unemployment

Today, Statistics Canada reported that 3,400 more Canadians received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in May. It previously reported that unemployment rose by 8,000 that month. In other words, even more workers are now unemployed without EI benefits.

In total, just 37% of unemployed Canadians received benefits in May (i.e. 512,600 out of 1,378,600). This proportion was as low as 26% in Ontario (i.e. 148,200 out of 570,200) and 23% in Alberta (i.e. 24,000 out of 102,200).

The federal government threatens to further reduce EI coverage by making it more difficult for unemployed Canadians to receive benefits. These new restrictions were announced as part of the omnibus budget bill in May, but not yet implemented.

Erin Weir is an economist with the United Steelworkers union and a CCPA research associate.

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