Number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits decreased by 23,000 in November to 396,000; Quebec and Ontario registered the largest decreases, down 9.5% and 6.7%, respectively: Statistics Canada

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OTTAWA , January 20, 2023 (press release) –

In November, 396,000 Canadians received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, down by 23,000 (-5.4%) from October. This was the lowest number of EI beneficiaries on record since comparable data became available in 1997, outside of the summer of 2020 when the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit was in place.

As reported by the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 5.1% in November.

In general, variations in the number of beneficiaries can reflect changes in the circumstances of different groups, including those becoming beneficiaries, those going back to work, those exhausting their regular benefits and those no longer receiving benefits for other reasons.

According to the LFS, the number of core-aged people who left a job involuntarily in the past 12 months and remained unemployed during the LFS reference week was 317,000 in November, down 3.2% (-11,000) from November 2021 and down 18.6% (-72,000) compared with November 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic (not seasonally adjusted). This decline in the number of people leaving a job involuntarily could have contributed to the historic lows in the number of people receiving regular EI benefits in November 2022.

Chart 1: Fewer regular Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries in November

Fewer people collect regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in eight provinces
In November, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits fell in eight provinces. The largest proportional decreases occurred in Quebec (-9.5%; -9,700) and Ontario (-6.7%; -7,400), which together accounted for three-quarters of the monthly decline. Both provinces have seen steady declines in the number of regular EI recipients since July 2022.

Other notable proportional decreases in regular EI beneficiaries occurred in Alberta (-4.5%; -2,100), Manitoba (-4.0%; -600) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-3.9%; -1,200). At the same time, there was little change in the number of EI beneficiaries in New Brunswick and British Columbia in November.

The census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Windsor (-44.3%; -2,900), Québec (-10.9%; -700) and Montréal (-10.8%; -3,900), posted the largest proportional decreases in regular EI recipients. Conversely, the number of beneficiaries increased in the CMAs of Kelowna (+16.5%; +300) and Saskatoon (+7.0%; +200).

Chart 2: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries down in Ontario and Quebec since November 2021

The number of regular Employment Insurance recipients continues to fall across all age groups
Fewer men and women in all age groups collected regular EI benefits in November. The largest proportional decrease occurred among those aged 55 years and older. The number of EI recipients in this age group fell 7.0% (-8,100), marking their fourth consecutive monthly decline. The number of youths aged 15 to 24 years receiving regular EI benefits, which has declined continuously since May 2021, was down 5.8% (-2,400) in November. Among Canadians aged 25 to 54 years, who accounted for the majority of EI recipients in November, the number of recipients fell 4.7% (-12,200) in the month.

Monthly proportional decreases in the number of EI beneficiaries were larger for women than men for a fourth consecutive month. In November, the number of women receiving regular EI benefits fell by 6.0% (-9,400) while the number of men receiving regular EI benefits declined by 5.1% (-13,300).

Note to readers
Availability of data by occupation
Statistics Canada is currently revising the Employment Insurance Statistics (EIS) data to the 2021 National Occupational Classification (NOC) standard. This will result in EIS occupation categories aligning with the 2021 Census and Labour Force Survey NOC 2021 categories. The release of revised data is planned for completion in June 2023. Until then, information on Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries by occupation, including tables 14-10-0336-01 and 14-10-0337-01, will not be available.

Concepts and methodology
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 Labour Force Survey (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 November 6 to 12, 2022. This period coincides with the reference week of the LFS.

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.

Next release
Data on EI for December 2022 will be released on February 16, 2023.

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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