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Employment Insurance

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December 2008 (preliminary) (Previous release)

In December, 538,200 Canadians received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, up 25,000 or 4.9% from November, after seasonal adjustment.

The number of Canadians receiving regular EI benefits rose by 79,100 between December 2007 and December 2008, a 16.6% increase. The number of men receiving benefits went up 21.7% while for women the number increased by 8.6%.

The number of regular beneficiaries were up in all provinces and territories compared with the same month a year earlier, with the largest increases occurring in British Columbia (+33.2%), Alberta (+30.3%) and Ontario (+29.6%).

Most census metropolitan areas experienced an increase in the number of regular beneficiaries. The largest year-over-year changes occurred in London (+75.5%), Windsor (+61.3%), Kitchener (+50.9%) and Victoria (+49.1%).

Note: Employment Insurance Statistics Program data are produced from an administrative data source and may, from time to time, be affected by changes to the Employment Insurance Act or administrative procedures. The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all persons who received Employment Insurance benefits from the 7th to the 13th of December. This coincides with the reference week of the Labour Force Survey for the month of December. The regular benefit payments figure measures the total of all monies paid to individuals during the month. Month-to-month comparisons are made based on seasonally adjusted data, which removes the effects of seasonal variations.

Available on CANSIM: tables 276-0001 to 276-0006, 276-0009, 276-0011, 276-0015 and 276-0016.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2604.

Data on Employment Insurance for January will be released on March 24.

For more information, or to order data, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-866-873-8788; 613-951-4090; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Gilles Groleau (613-951-4091), Labour Statistics Division.

Table 1

Employment Insurance statistics
  December 2007 November 2008 December 2008 November to December 2008 December 2007 to December 2008
  Seasonally adjusted
        % change
Regular beneficiaries 463.0 513.2r 538.2p 4.9 16.2
Initial and renewal claims received (thousands) 227.9 259.0r 273.5p 5.6 20.0
All beneficiaries (thousands)1 744.9 714.6p 831.0p    
Regular beneficiaries (thousands) 476.6 443.3p 555.7p   16.6
Men (thousands) 291.2 262.9p 354.3p   21.7
Women (thousands) 185.4 180.3p 201.4p   8.6
Initial and renewal claims received (thousands) 317.3 304.9 420.7    
Payments ($ millions) 1,304.1 1,294.2 1,326.3    
  Year-to-date (January to December)
      2007 2008 2007 to 2008
          % change
Claims received (thousands)     2,649.2 2,848.0 7.5
Payments ($ millions)     14,561.9 15,033.3 3.2
"All beneficiaries" includes all claimants receiving regular benefits (for example, as a result of layoff) or special benefits (for example, as a result of illness) and are representative of data for the Labour Force Survey reference week, which is usually the week containing the 15th day of the month.

Table 2

Number of beneficiaries receiving regular benefits
  December 2008p November to December 2008 December 2007 to December 2008
  Seasonally adjusted
    % change
Canada 538,180 4.9 16.2
Newfoundland and Labrador 36,880 0.5 4.2
Prince Edward Island 8,090 0.4 3.2
Nova Scotia 28,990 2.6 6.6
New Brunswick 30,490 0.5 1.8
Quebec 171,840 5.7 6.5
Ontario 167,190 4.0 29.6
Manitoba 11,220 2.1 16.5
Saskatchewan 8,710 2.6 2.7
Alberta 20,380 6.5 30.3
British Columbia 49,790 5.3 33.2
Yukon 880 -3.3 15.8
Northwest Territories 700 6.1 9.4
Nunavut 400 2.6 25.0
The number of beneficiaries includes all claimants who received regular benefits for the Labour Force Survey reference week, usually containing the 15th day of the month.