Number of workers receiving EI falls

Six of ten workers do not receive EI benefits. A high number of claims are being rejected.

STATISTIC CANADA’S latest survey of workers across the country receiving Employment Insurance (EI) is for December 2012. In that month, across Canada, the number of workers receiving regular EI benefits fell for the third time in four months, down 8,300 (-1.6 per cent) to 517,000. According to Statistics Canada, the number of unemployed workers in January 2013 – one month later – was 1,322,800. This means that roughly 39 per cent of the unemployed workers in Canada receive EI benefits.

In December 2012, all provinces had fewer EI beneficiaries, with the largest percentage decrease in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Manitoba.

The largest percentage decrease overall was in Prince Edward Island, where the number of beneficiaries declined 4.6 per cent to 7,800 in December. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries fell by 4.1 per cent to 32,400, continuing a downward trend that began in the fall of 2011 according to Stats Canada. In Manitoba the decline in the number of beneficiaries was of 3.3 per cent.

Sign at action in Quebec City, February 23, 2012: “Ms. Finley, stop your witch hunt!”

In spite of the fact that the number of EI beneficiaries fell in all provinces in December 2012, the number of initial and renewal claims was about the same as for the preceding month. This indicates that a high number of claims are being rejected. The number of claims actually increased in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario while the number of EI beneficiaries in each of those provinces fell.

Meanwhile, the Harper Government, beginning in January, has launched unannounced “house calls” by the “Integrity Branch” to employment insurance recipients under the pretext of verifying claims.

It is in this situation that the new EI regulations have come into force. The Harper government openly said that it expects an initial 8,000 workers currently receiving EI will be cut off in the first months of the implementation of the reforms.

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