A Closer Look

Employment Insurance in Canada – 39.0% of the unemployed in 2014 had not contributed

The rate of eligibility for receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits was 83.1% in 2014, down from 85.8% in 2013, but in line with the 83.0% average seen over the previous 10 years. The decline in 2014 was most notable among youths aged 15 to 24 and men of all ages.

To be eligible to receive regular benefits, unemployed individuals must have contributed to the EI program, met the criteria for job separation and accumulated enough insurable hours (see note to readers).

From 2013 to 2014, declines in eligibility rates for regular EI benefits were observed among all age groups: 15 to 24 (54.5% to 44.0%), 25 to 44 (89.7% to 86.9%), and those aged 45 and older (90.8% to 88.8%).

Eligibility declined notably for men (89.8% to 84.0%), while it edged up for women (80.0% to 81.3%).In 2014, 768,000 unemployed individuals contributed to the EI program, down from 820,000 contributors in 2013.

Of the 768,000 unemployed contributors, about 581,000 had a job separation that met the EI program criteria. Of these, 83.1% (483,000) had worked enough hours and were eligible to receive EI.

One reason for the decline was a change in the type of jobs last held by contributors with a valid job separation. The share of these contributors who last worked in a permanent full-time job—where one is more likely to work enough hours to qualify for EI—declined from 45.8% in 2013 to 43.5% in 2014.

Non-contribution rate

Of the 1.26 million unemployed people in Canada in 2014, 39.0% had not contributed to EI. As a result, they were not eligible for regular benefits. The non-contribution rate in 2014 was slightly higher than the 37.5% observed in 2013, and the highest since comparable data began in 2003.There were two main reasons for not contributing to the EI program for the purpose of receiving regular EI benefits: not having worked in the previous 12 months, which includes those who have never worked, and non-insurable employment (that is, being self-employed).

Chart 1  Employment Insurance contributors with enough insurable hours as a share of all contributors with a valid job separation

Capture d’écran 2015-11-26 à 08.47.02

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at The Daily — Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2014



  1. Pingback: Employment Insurance in Canada – Five key changes | Job Market Monitor - April 21, 2016

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