The eligibility rate for receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits was 82.8% in 2015, little changed from 83.1% in 2014.
In all, 848,000 unemployed people contributed to the EI program in 2015, as they paid premiums in the 12 months preceding their unemployment spell. This represented 65.3% of all unemployed, the largest share since 2009. From 2014 to 2015, the proportion of unemployed people who contributed to the EI program rose by 4.3 percentage points, largely reflecting an increase in the number of unemployed people who had worked in the previous 12 months.
In addition to having contributed to the EI program, eligibility to receive regular benefits requires that unemployed individuals have met the criteria for a valid job separation and accumulated a sufficient number of insurable hours (see note to readers).
Of the 848,000 unemployed contributors, 81.1% or 688,000 had a valid job separation in 2015, up 18.5% from 2014 and the first increase since 2009.
Of unemployed contributors with a valid job separation, 82.8% or 569,000 had accumulated a sufficient number of insurable hours to be eligible to receive regular EI benefits in 2015.
Compared with 2014, EI eligibility rates fell in four provinces in 2015: Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. At the same time, they increased in New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, eligibility rates were similar to those observed in 2014.
Employment Insurance eligibility down for men, up for women
Men accounted for about two-thirds of unemployed people who contributed to the EI program and had a valid job separation in 2015. This reflects the fact that men generally have a higher unemployment rate than women.
In 2015, 82.0% of unemployed male contributors with a valid job separation had enough insurable hours to be eligible to receive regular benefits, down from 84.0% in 2014. For women, the eligibility rate was 84.3%, up from 81.3% in 2014.
A little more than 4 in 10 unemployed women did not contribute to EI, compared with just over 3 in 10 of their male counterparts. Fewer unemployed women had paid employment in the previous 12 months, therefore fewer contributed to the EI program than did men.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at The Daily — Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2015