Facts on Employment Insurance disqualifications

Under Connecting Canadians with Available Jobs (CCAJ), the changes to Employment Insurance (EI) clarified the long-standing responsibilities of EI claimants to look for work while receiving benefits. Of those people who were disqualified from EI in 2014, far less than 1% were disqualified because they failed to search for work or refused to accept suitable work. In , claimants being outside the country accounted for approximately 80% of the increase in the number of disentitlements and disqualifications since CCAJ. These disentitlements are not new and have nothing to do with the recent changes to EI.

EI disqualifications and disentitlements, Canada Footnote 1 Footnote 2
Categories 2014
Not capable or not available Footnote 3 329,330
Not unemployed or no interruption of earnings 48,640
Voluntary quit 88,400
Incomplete documentation 61,190
Misconduct 24,380
Labour dispute 3,940
Other reasons Footnote 4 443,730
Total disqualifications and disentitlements 999,610
Categories relevant to the requirements to look for work under CCAJ
Failure to search for work 1,070
Refusal of suitable work 180
Sub-total disqualifications and disentitlements 1,250

Sources: Statistics Canada, CANSIM table, 276-0003; Department of Employment and Social Development Canada calculations.


Footnote 1

Multiple disentitlements/disqualifications could be imposed on a claimant. The numbers do not represent claimants, but rather disentitlements/disqualifications.

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Footnote 2

A disentitlement is a suspension of benefits that may be imposed when a claimant fails to meet a specific entitlement condition. A disqualification is a suspension of benefits imposed due to a specific action or inaction by the claimant. These data are not a measure of the number of people whose benefits were suspended, because: 1) Multiple disentitlements/disqualifications could be imposed on a claimant, yet only one week of benefits could be affected. 2) Disentitlements/disqualifications do not necessarily result in non-payment of benefits. 3) Claimants who were denied benefits because they did not fulfill their obligations can have their benefits re-instated once they demonstrate that they meet all their obligations. 4) Non-payment of benefits resulting from a disentitlement or disqualification can cover a period of time from one day to a specific number of complete weeks.

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Footnote 3

A claimant can be disentitled from receiving Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits if they cannot prove that they are ready, willing, and capable of working each day for which they are requesting EI benefits. When a claimant is requesting sickness benefits, they must prove that were it not for their illness they would "otherwise" be available for work.

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Footnote 4

The "other reasons" category reflects more than 40 different types of disentitlements, but, in fact, approximately 80% of the increase in this category for both Quebec and Canada relates to individuals who were "not in Canada".

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