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Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2013

Released: 2015-01-19

The rate of eligibility for receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in 2013 was 85.8%, up from 81.9% in 2012.

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).

Increases in eligibility rates for regular EI benefits from 2012 to 2013 were observed for all age groups: 15 to 24 (45.2% to 54.5%), 25 to 44 (86.9% to 89.7%) and those aged 45 and older (88.9% to 90.8%).

From 2012 to 2013, eligibility increased notably for men (81.9% to 89.8%) and edged down slightly for women (81.9% to 80.0%).

In 2013, 820,000 unemployed individuals contributed to the EI program, up slightly from the 808,000 contributors in 2012.

Of the 820,000 contributors in 2013, 624,000 had a job separation that met the EI program criteria. Of these, 536,000 or 85.8% had worked enough hours and were eligible to receive EI, the highest rate since 2009.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Employment Insurance contributors with enough insurable hours as a share of all contributors with a valid job separation - Description and data table
Employment Insurance contributors with enough insurable hours as a share of all contributors with a valid job separation

Chart 1: Employment Insurance contributors with enough insurable hours as a share of all contributors with a valid job separation - Description and data table

Provincially, EI eligibility rates in 2013 increased in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta. Three provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan) stayed at a relatively similar level compared with 2012, while British Columbia saw its eligibility rate decline in 2013.

Maternity and parental benefits

Coverage and eligibility of mothers for maternity or parental benefits have been relatively unchanged since 2003.

In 2013, 77.0% of all recent mothers (those with a child aged 12 months or less) had insurable employment, compared with 77.9% in 2012. Among these insured mothers, 91.9% were receiving maternity or parental benefits, up from 88.2% in 2012.

New Brunswick had the highest share of recent mothers with insurable employment (93.9%) and among the highest shares of insured recent mothers receiving maternity or parental benefits (91.2%).

Quebec, which has the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP), had the second-highest share of recent mothers with insurable employment (91.2%) and the highest share of insured recent mothers receiving maternity or parental benefits (97.8%).

For all provinces combined, the share of recent fathers who claimed or intended to claim parental leave in 2013 was 30.9%, up from a recent low of 25.4% in 2012.

The QPIP, which was introduced in 2006, had a major impact on the number of fathers who claimed or intended to claim parental benefits. It includes leave that applies exclusively to fathers. The proportion of fathers in Quebec who took or intended to take parental leave has tripled since the introduction of the plan, from 27.8% in 2005 to 83.0% in 2013.

Outside of Quebec, 12.2% of recent fathers claimed or intended to claim parental leave in 2013, compared with 9.4% in 2012.




  Note to readers

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 regular benefits as well as to maternity and parental benefits.

To be eligible to receive regular benefits, unemployed individuals have to: (a) contribute to the EI program, (b) meet the criteria for job separation (that is, have a valid job separation) and (c) have accumulated enough insurable hours over the past 12 months.

Job separations that are deemed invalid to receive regular benefits include, among others, quitting the job without just cause (including leaving a job to go to school, dissatisfaction with the job, and retirement) or dismissal with cause.

The number of insured hours required to qualify for regular benefits varies across geographic regions, ranging from 420 to 700 hours, depending on the region's unemployment rate. The higher the unemployment rate, the lower the number of hours required to qualify for benefits. In addition, hours required are higher (910 hours) 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. 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 2013, the total sample size was 10,844 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.

The survey is conducted on behalf of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jason Gilmore (613-951-7118; jason.gilmore@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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