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Canada. The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefit down

In February, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell by 6,700 (-1.2%) to 552,800.

The number of beneficiaries fell in six provinces, with the largest percentage declines occurring in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec.

Number of Employment Insurance claims down in February

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.

Nationally, the number of initial and renewal claims fell by 5,900 (-2.5%) to 236,100 in February. The largest percentage decline was observed in Quebec, where claims fell 6.3%. At the same time, there was little change in the other provinces.

Fewer beneficiaries in most provinces

The number of people receiving regular EI benefits in February fell in six provinces, with the largest percentage declines in Alberta (-4.0%), Saskatchewan (-3.8%) and Quebec (-3.4%).

There were also marked declines in Ontario (-2.9%) and Nova Scotia (-2.7%). At the same time, the number of beneficiaries edged down in New Brunswick, while there was little change in the other provinces.

Sub-provincial and demographic overview

EI data by sub-provincial region, sex and age are not seasonally adjusted and are therefore compared on a year-over-year basis.

Year-over-year declines continue in most large centres
Of the 143 large centres, 132 posted declines in the number of beneficiaries between February 2011 and February 2012. Large centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries decreased in all five large centres. In St. John's, the number of people receiving benefits fell 13.7% to 4,900, continuing a series of declines that began about two years earlier. There was also a marked decline in Labrador City.

Both large centres in Prince Edward Island had fewer beneficiaries, with the largest percentage decline in Charlottetown, where the number of people receiving benefits fell 16.6% in February. This was the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.

In Nova Scotia, all five large centres had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to February. The largest percentage decline occurred in Halifax, where the number of people receiving benefits fell 17.8% to 6,100. This continued a series of declines that began nearly two years earlier.

In New Brunswick, four of the six large centres had fewer beneficiaries compared with 12 months earlier. The biggest percentage declines occurred in Moncton, where the number of beneficiaries fell 7.6%, and in Saint John, where it declined 4.3%.

In Quebec, the number of beneficiaries fell in 28 of the 33 large centres in the 12 months to February, with the largest percentage declines in Rouyn-Noranda, Amos, Montréal and Sherbrooke. In Montréal, the number of people receiving benefits fell 12.6% to 67,100, extending an almost two-year-long series of declines. In Thetford Mines, the number of beneficiaries increased 23.6%.

Of the 41 large centres in Ontario, 39 had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to February. The largest percentage declines occurred in Windsor, Hamilton, Chatham-Kent, Stratford and Timmins. In Toronto, the number of people receiving benefits fell 18.8% to 66,600, continuing a two-year-long trend of year-over-year monthly declines.

In Manitoba, all four large centres had fewer beneficiaries in February compared with 12 months earlier. In Winnipeg, the number of people receiving EI benefits fell 5.7% to 7,700, extending the series of declines that began one year and a half earlier.

There were fewer beneficiaries in all eight large centres of Saskatchewan, notably in Moose Jaw, Regina and Saskatoon. In Regina, the number of beneficiaries fell 17.1% to 1,400, continuing a series of declines that began in the summer of 2010. In Saskatoon, 2,100 people received benefits, down 14.8%, extending the downward trend that started two and a half years earlier.

In Alberta, all 12 large centres had fewer beneficiaries in February compared with 12 months earlier. The largest percentage declines occurred in Grande Prairie, Cold Lake and Lethbridge. In Edmonton, 9,600 people received benefits, down 36.0%, and in Calgary, 9,400 people received benefits, down 33.5%. Among all census metropolitan areas, Calgary and Edmonton had the largest year-over-year percentage declines for the fourth consecutive month.

In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell in 24 of the 25 large centres, with the largest percentage declines in Powell River and Squamish. In Vancouver, 26,900 people received benefits in February, down 19.9% from February 2011 and continuing a series of declines that began nearly two years earlier. In Victoria, the number of beneficiaries was 3,500, down 18.1% in the 12-month period.

Demographic groups

In February, 463,000 men received regular benefits, down 10.2% from February 2011. The number of beneficiaries fell at a roughly similar pace for men under 25 (-10.5%) and their counterparts aged 25 to 54 (-11.2%). Among men aged 55 and over, the number of people receiving benefits declined 6.7%.

A total of 224,600 women received regular benefits in February, down 14.0% from 12 months earlier. Among women under 25 and those aged 25 to 54, the number of beneficiaries fell at a similar rate, 15.4% and 14.9%, respectively. For women aged 55 and over, the decline was 10.3%.

© Statistics Canada -


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