Number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits decreased by 20,000 in April to 496,000; decreases in eight provinces led by British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island: Statistics Canada

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OTTAWA , June 23, 2022 (press release) –

In April, 20,000 (-3.8%) fewer Canadians received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to 496,000. There were 1.2 million (-70.2%) fewer regular EI beneficiaries in April than in May 2021, when the number reached its COVID-19 pandemic peak.

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 5.2% in April after reaching a record low of 5.3% in March.

Chart 1: The number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries continues its downward trend

The number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries decreases in eight provinces
The number of regular EI beneficiaries fell in eight provinces in April. British Columbia (-12.2%; -6,000) posted the largest proportional decline, followed by Alberta (-6.8%; -4,000), Nova Scotia (-5.9%; -2,000), and Prince Edward Island (-3.2%; -300). At the same time, there were more regular EI beneficiaries in Manitoba (+1.3%; +200) and little change in Newfoundland and Labrador.

On a regional basis, the largest proportional declines in regular EI beneficiaries were in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Vancouver (-17.5%; -4,000) and Abbotsford–Mission (-14.8%; -400) in British Columbia. Despite the decrease in recipients in April, the Vancouver CMA accounted for a higher share (42.1%) of regular EI beneficiaries in British Columbia than in February 2020 (35.5%), prior to the pandemic. According to the LFS estimates, the unemployment rate in the Vancouver CMA was 5.6% in April compared with 4.5% in February 2020.

The drop in regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries concentrated among core-aged Canadians
In April, the number of core-aged (25 to 54 years) people receiving regular EI benefits fell by 16,000 (-5.2%), accounting for 79.9% of the net monthly decline. Decreases were seen among both core-age men (-8,000; -5.0%) and women (-7,000; -5.5%). This was in line with April LFS results, which showed a decline of 28,000 (-4.7%) in unemployment and a record-low unemployment rate (4.3%) for people in this age group.

The number of beneficiaries receiving regular EI benefits fell by 2,000 (-7.7%) among young women aged 15 to 24 in April; this was twice the decrease among young men (-1,000; -3.1%). Among Canadians aged 55 and older, the number of regular EI beneficiaries was little changed in April.

Five industries account for just over half of regular Employment Insurance recipients
Just over half (51.5%) of regular EI recipients in April last worked in one of the following five industries: construction (22.2%); manufacturing (8.7%); administrative and support services (7.4%); retail trade (7.0%); and accommodation and food services (6.1%) (not seasonally adjusted). According to the LFS, the number of people working in construction decreased by 21,000 (-1.3%) in April, following four consecutive monthly increases. Despite the recent employment growth, the construction industry accounted for the largest share of EI beneficiaries for the seventh consecutive month. Of the beneficiaries in this industry, the vast majority of regular EI recipients were men (90.9%) (not seasonally adjusted).

Chart 2: Notable increase in beneficiaries in construction industry since October 2021

In the spotlight: the long-term unemployed in May 2022
EI recipients account for part of the broader unemployed population. Information about total unemployment is available from the LFS.

In the context of record-low unemployment rates, strong labour force participation, and record-high job vacancies, there has been heightened interest in understanding who may be able to fill open vacancies to help ease labour market tightness. One such group is the long-term unemployed—those who have been searching for work or on temporary layoff for 27 weeks or more—as measured by the LFS.

Long-term unemployment accounted for 19.7% of total unemployment as of May 2022, and remained higher than the pre-pandemic February 2020 proportion of 15.6%. Elevated long-term unemployment has persisted despite many other leading labour market indicators having fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

The long-term unemployed are a diverse group, both demographically and in relation to their past experience in the labour market. As of May, just over 1 in 10 (10.5%; 24,000) long-term unemployed people had never worked. People under 30 years of age accounted for over half (53.4%) of this group, which suggests that inexperience remains a barrier for some young people trying to enter the labour market (three-month moving averages; not seasonally adjusted).

Educational attainment may be another factor in facilitating the transition into employment. In May, nearly 3 in 10 (29.0%; 65,000) long-term unemployed people were those aged 25 and older whose highest level of education was high school or less. In contrast, this group accounted for fewer than 2 in 10 (18.4%) among the employed (three-month moving averages; not seasonally adjusted).

Differences in regional labour markets, and mismatches between the skills of potential workers and the skills required for vacancies may also influence a person's ability to find employment. In May, long-term unemployment as a proportion of total unemployment ranged from 9.7% in Prince Edward Island, to 25.3% in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In the coming months, data from the full suite of Statistics Canada's labour-related statistical programs will continue to shed light on Canada's tight labour market.

Next release
Information on the profile of regular EI recipients for the week of May 15 to 21 will be released on July 21.

Note to readers
Employment Insurance in the context of broader COVID-19 benefit programs
No methodological changes have been made to the Employment Insurance Statistics (EIS) program over the COVID-19 pandemic period. EIS reflect the Employment Insurance (EI) program for the Labour Force Survey (LFS) reference week in each month.

Data for the October 2020 reference period and onward comprise individuals who obtained EI benefits and exclude beneficiaries of the Canada recovery benefits (Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit).

Concepts and methodology
The analysis focuses on people who received regular EI benefits related to job loss.

EI statistics are produced from administrative data sources provided by Service Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada. These statistics may, from time to time, be affected by changes to the Employment Insurance Act or administrative procedures.

EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits and should not be confused with LFS data, which provide estimates of the total number of unemployed people. There is always a certain proportion of unemployed people who do not qualify for benefits. Some unemployed people have not contributed to the program because they have not worked in the past 12 months or their employment was not insured. Other unemployed people have contributed to the program, but do not meet the eligibility criteria, such as workers who left their jobs voluntarily or those who did not accumulate enough hours of work to receive benefits.

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted, unless otherwise specified. To model the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, values for all series from March 2020 to November 2021 have been treated with a combination of level shifts and outliers in determining a seasonal pattern for seasonal adjustment. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

The number of regular EI beneficiaries for the current month and the previous month is subject to revision.

The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all people who received regular EI benefits from April 10 to 16, 2022. This period coincides with the reference week of the LFS.

EI beneficiaries by industry
The industry of EI beneficiaries is determined by integrating EI data with record of employment administrative data. For beneficiaries with more than one record of employment in the 52 weeks prior to the reference week, the records with the greatest number of hours are used. If no industry information can be found, industry information is deemed "Not classified" for the beneficiary.

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre. A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000. A CA must have a population of at least 10,000. See Standard Geographical Classification 2016 – Definitions for more information.

Data availability
In the data tables 14-10-0004, 14-10-0005, 14-10-0007 and 14-10-0008, for the March to September 2020 reference periods, data have been suppressed because a source data file contains records for Canada Emergency Response Benefit claimants and beneficiaries who could not be identified and excluded through processing.

Historical revision of Employment Insurance data
Seasonally adjusted series of EI statistics have been revised back to January 2017 to reflect the most recent seasonal patterns. Table 14-10-0009, which includes information on EI recipients by type of income benefits, has been updated to include two benefit types: family caregiver benefits for children and family caregiver benefits for adults.

Next release
Data on EI for May will be released on July 21.

More information about the concepts and use of Employment Insurance statistics is available in the Guide to Employment Insurance Statistics (Catalogue number73-506-G).

Contact information
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (

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