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Among the 1.04 million unemployed individuals who contributed to the Employment Insurance (EI) program in 2009, 857,000 had a recent job separation that met the EI program criteria. Of those, 739,000 or 86.2% were eligible to receive regular EI benefits because they worked enough hours, up from 82.2% in 2008.
The remainder of EI contributors with a valid job separation, roughly 118,000 or 13.8%, did not have enough insurable hours to qualify for benefits based on the region they lived in. This was the lowest proportion in more than six years.
In addition to the 857,000 contributors who had a valid job separation, there were another 185,000 unemployed EI contributors who had left their job for a reason not deemed valid by the EI program.
The 1.04 million unemployed individuals who contributed to the EI program in 2009 was an increase from 767,000 a year earlier. Despite this increase, the overall share of unemployed EI contributors-to-unemployed was 70.3%, little changed over the past seven years. The remaining 29.7% of unemployed individuals were non-contributors.
There are two main reasons for being EI non-contributors and therefore not eligible for regular EI benefits: non-insurable employment (that is, self-employed) or not having worked in the previous 12 months. Both the share of non-contributors and the reasons for non-contribution have been very similar from 2003 to 2009.
During much of 2009, the labour market underwent a downturn. As a result, the unemployment rate rose from 6.1% in 2008 to 8.3% in 2009. On average, there were 1.5 million unemployed in Canada in 2009. Groups that were particularly affected included men aged 25 to 54, young people aged 15 to 24, and workers in Ontario and Alberta.
Of the unemployed individuals who had contributed to the EI program and had a valid job separation in 2009, 558,000 or 65.1% were men. In 2009, 87.3% of these contributors were eligible for regular benefits, up from 84.6% in 2008. Of the 299,000 unemployed women who were contributors with a valid job separation, 84.3% were eligible for EI benefits in 2009, an increase from 77.8% a year earlier.
Compared with men, there was a higher share of women who had quit their job for a reason which deemed them unable to collect regular benefits, and a slightly higher share of women had not accumulated enough insurable hours.
Nearly one-third of unemployed women (32.5%) did not contribute to EI, compared with 28.0% of their male counterparts. The proportion for women was slightly higher mainly because they were more likely not to have had paid employment in the previous 12 months.
In 2009, 62.8% of people aged 15 to 24 who had a valid job separation were eligible to receive regular EI benefits, much lower than those aged 25 to 44 or aged 45 and older. This was because relatively fewer youth had accumulated enough insurable hours. Despite this, their eligibility rate in 2009 was up from 51.9% in 2008.
The Employment Insurance Coverage Survey sheds light on the coverage of the Employment Insurance (EI) program. It provides a picture of who does or does not have access to EI benefits as well as maternity, parental and adoption benefits.
To be potentially eligible to receive regular benefits, unemployed individuals have to contribute to the EI program and must meet the criteria for job separation. Job separations that are deemed invalid include quitting the job voluntarily (including to go to school), illness or disability, pregnancy, other family related issues, dissatisfaction with the job, and retirement. Contributors to the EI program with valid job separations who have accumulated enough hours are eligible to receive regular EI benefits.
The number of insured hours required to qualify for regular benefits vary across regions in Canada, ranging from 420 to 700 hours, depending on the unemployment rate of that region. The higher the unemployment rate, the lower the number of hours required to qualify for benefits. In addition, hours required are higher for workers who have entered the labour market for the first time and those who have limited work experience in the last two years.
The survey is administered to a sub-sample of respondents of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) four times a year, namely in April, July, November and January. The respondents are asked questions about their situation during the LFS reference week in the month prior to being interviewed (March, June, October and December respectively).
In 2009, the total sample size was 11,824 people, composed of unemployed individuals (as defined by the LFS) and other individuals who, given their recent status in the labour market, were potentially eligible for EI. This sample included 2,576 respondents who were unemployed during the LFS reference week. In addition, 1,195 women who had a child of less than one year old were interviewed.
The survey is conducted on behalf of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
Compared with other age groups, a higher share of youths had an invalid job separation and were therefore ineligible for EI. This was because many of these youths had quit work to go back to school.
In 2009, over one-third (36.8%) of unemployed youth had not contributed to the EI program at all, primarily because many had not worked for paid employment in the previous 12 months.
Between 2008 and 2009, the share of unemployed contributors with a valid job separation increased in all provinces except Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Rates in 2009 ranged from 83.1% in Ontario to 94.9% in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Two western provinces, Alberta (27.7%) and Manitoba (27.1%), had the highest proportions of unemployed contributors to EI who had invalid job separations (that is, quit to go back to school or quit for other reasons). This group was therefore not eligible for benefits. In contrast, the Atlantic provinces had the lowest proportions of unemployed contributors with invalid job separations.
In 2009, over one-third (35.8%) of unemployed people in Ontario did not contribute to the EI program, the highest share among all provinces. The large majority of these non-contributors had not worked in the previous 12 months.
At the national level, coverage and eligibility of mothers for maternity or parental benefits has varied little from 2003 to 2009.
In 2009, 76.2% of all recent mothers (with a child aged 12 months or less) had insurable employment; among these insured mothers, 88.0% were receiving maternity or parental benefits. Both rates were essentially unchanged from 2008 (77.0% and 88.1%, respectively).
Quebec, which has the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP), had the highest share of recent mothers with insurable employment (81.5%) and the highest share of insurable recent mothers receiving maternity or parental benefits (94.7%).
The QPIP, which was introduced in 2006, continued to have a major impact on the number of fathers who claimed or intended to claim parental benefits. It included leave that applied exclusively to fathers. The proportion of fathers in Quebec who took or intended to take parental leave has nearly tripled since the introduction of the plan.
Taking all provinces into account, the share of recent fathers taking parental leave in 2009 was 30.1%, up slightly from 28.2% a year earlier.
In Quebec, 79.1% of fathers took advantage of the plan, compared with 74.9% in 2008. Prior to the plan's introduction, 27.8% of Quebec fathers took parental leave in 2005.
Outside Quebec, 12.8% of recent fathers took or intended to take parental leave in 2009, compared with 10.4% in 2008.
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 4428.
For general information, or to order data, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-461-9050; 613-951-3321; fax: 613-951-4527; firstname.lastname@example.org), Special Surveys Division. To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jason Gilmore (613-951-7118; email@example.com), Labour Statistics Division.
|Number||Unemployed||Contributors||Contributors with valid job separation|
|Contributors, valid job separation||857||57.8||82.3||100.0|
|Not eligible due to not enough insurable hours||118||8.0||11.3||13.8|
|Contributors, invalid job separation||185||12.5||17.7||...|
|Invalid job separation: quit to go back to school||86||5.8||8.2||...|
|Invalid job separation: other reasons deemed invalid||99||6.7||9.5||...|
|Had no insurable employment||73||4.9||...||...|
|Had not worked in previous 12 months||368||24.8||...||...|
|Number||Unemployed||Contributors||Contributors with valid job separation|
|Contributors, valid job separation||558||60.7||84.4||100.0|
|Not eligible due to not enough insurable hours||71||7.7||10.7||12.7|
|Contributors, invalid job separation||104||11.3||15.6||...|
|Invalid job separation: quit to go back to school||52||5.6||7.8||...|
|Invalid job separation: other reasons deemed invalid||52||5.6||7.8||...|
|Had no insurable employment||47||5.1||...||...|
|Had not worked in previous 12 months||211||22.9||...||...|
|Contributors, valid job separation||299||53.1||78.6||100.0|
|Not eligible due to not enough insurable hours||47||8.3||12.4||15.7|
|Contributors, invalid job separation||81||14.4||21.4||...|
|Invalid job separation: quit to go back to school||34||6.0||8.9E||...|
|Invalid job separation: other reasons deemed invalid||47||8.4||12.4||...|
|Had no insurable employment||26||4.7E||...||...|
|Had not worked in previous 12 months||157||27.9||...||...|
|Unemployed||Contributors||Contributors, valid job separation||Contributors, invalid job separation||Non-contributors||Share of contributors with valid job separation who had sufficient hours to qualify|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||41||35||33||2E||6E||94.9|
|Prince Edward Island||9E||F||F||F||F||88.9|