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April 2001     Vol. 2, no. 4

Repeat users of employment insurance

Lori M. Stratychuk

  • While men accounted for 52% of employees in 1997, they made 59% of regular EI claims (that is, excluding claims for maternity, paternal, sickness and other special benefits) in 1996.
  • Persons 35 and over had a disproportionate share of multiple EI claims (3 to 5 between 1992 and 1996).
  • Less than half (49%) of persistent EI users had completed high school, compared with more than three-quarters (78%) of all employees.
  • The Atlantic provinces accounted for 16% of regular benefit claims, more than twice their 7% share of employees. Quebec also had a disproportionate share of EI claims (34%) relative to paid employment (24%).
  • Most regular EI claimants were satisfied with their employment and income situations. Moreover, satisfaction with each increased with the number of claims, possibly because frequent users were more accustomed to changes in their status.
  • A strong majority of EI claimants would have been willing to change employers or the kind of work they did, but not their province of residence.
  • Most claimants accepted EI use as a "fact of life".


Lori M. Stratychuk is with the Household Survey Methods Division. She can be reached at (613) 951-0380 or

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