The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits totalled 539,800 in December, little changed (-0.5%) from the previous month.
There were more EI beneficiaries in Alberta (+2.2%) and Saskatchewan (+1.6%) in December, extending the upward trend for these provinces that began in September 2014. In addition, there were more beneficiaries in Newfoundland and Labrador (+1.3%).
Conversely, there were fewer people receiving benefits in Nova Scotia (-1.7%), Quebec (-1.7%) and Ontario (-1.1%). There was little change in the remaining provinces.On a year-over-year basis, the total number of EI beneficiaries was up 36,800 or 7.3%, with Alberta accounting for most of the increase.
Despite the year-over-year increase, the number of beneficiaries in Canada has levelled out in recent months.
The change in the number of regular EI beneficiaries reflects various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, people going back to work and people no longer receiving regular benefits.