Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2016 and ending March 31, 2017
Chapter II - Impact and Effectiveness of Employment Insurance Benefits (Part I of the Employment Insurance Act)

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

In this chapter


This chapter examines the use, impact and effectiveness of Employment Insurance benefits that were paid under Part I of the Employment Insurance Act during the fiscal year starting on April 1, 2016 and finishing on March 31, 2017 (referred to as the reporting fiscal year or FY1617).Footnote 1


This chapter of the Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report assesses income support provided by Employment Insurance (EI) Part I benefits: regular benefits, fishing benefits, work-sharing benefits and special benefits. It includes several key indicators, such as the number of new claims established, amount paid, level of benefits, maximum duration and actual duration of benefits and the exhaustion of benefits. Key EI program provisions and recent changes brought to the EI program are discussed throughout this chapter, including their impacts where appropriate. Indicators related to the level of claims and the level of benefits are presented for claims established within a fiscal year in which at least one dollar in EI benefits was paid. Meanwhile, the duration measures are based on all claims completed within a fiscal year in which at least one dollar was paid in EI benefits. Finally, measures related to the amounts paid in EI benefits are presented on a cash basis, which means the expenses are accounted for during the fiscal year they are paid. More information on the definitions of some of the indicators presented throughout this chapter can be found in Annex 2.1 of this report.

This chapter relies on several sources of information to provide a comprehensive analysis of the EI program. EI administrative data, generally based on a 10% sampleFootnote 2, underpins most of the analysis of this chapter. Some sections of this chapter also make use of tax data provided by the Canada Revenue Agency related to T4 tax slips with employment income or T1 returns. Statistics Canada’s Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, and the Labour Force Survey, provide the basis for deeper analysis of coverage, eligibility and accessibility of unemployed people to EI regular benefits. Throughout the chapter, data for the reporting fiscal year is compared with data from previous years and, in some instances, long-term trends are discussed.Footnote 3

Annex 2 of the report presents additional statistical information on benefits analyzed in this chapter and Annex 7 provides an overview of major changes to the EI program between April 1996 and December 2017.

Table 1 - Summary of Employment Insurance benefit types
Benefit type Circumstance Insurable Employment entrance requirement Maximum entitlement
Regular Unemployed with a valid reason for separation and searching for suitable employment or retraining in certain cases 420 to 700 hours depending on the Variable Entrance Requirement* 14 to 45 weeks, depending on insurable employment**
Fishing Self-employed fishers without available work Value of a catch between $2,500 and $4,200 depending on the Variable Entrance Requirement* 26 weeks per season (summer or winter)
Work-Sharing Firm avoiding layoffs during a slowdown in business activity for reasons beyond the firm's control with a recovery plan and a work-sharing agreement in place 420 to 700 hours depending on the Variable Entrance Requirement and must be a year-round employee 6 to 26 weeks, with the possibility of an extension by 12 weeks if warranted
Maternity Unavailable to work because of pregnancy or has recently given birth 600 hours*** 15 weeks
Parental Caring for a newborn or a newly adopted child 600 hours*** 35 weeks****
Sickness Unavailable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine 600 hours*** 15 weeks
Compassionate care Providing care or support to a family member with a serious medical condition and a significant risk of death 600 hours*** 26 weeks****
Parents of critically
ill children
Providing care or support for the claimant's critically ill or injured child 600 hours*** 35 weeks****

* Prior to July 3, 2016, new entrants and re-entrants were required to meet an entrance requirement of 910 hours for regular benefits and $5,500 for fishing benefits. Under the current rules, new entrants and re-entrants now face the same eligibility requirements as other claimants in the region where they live.
** Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1 extended the duration of EI regular benefits up to a maximum of 70 weeks of regular benefits for some claimants (see Section 2.2.4 for further details on the measure).
*** Self-employed workers (other than fishers) who have opted into EI special benefits must meet an insurable earnings threshold for the calendar year preceding the claim. The threshold was $6,820 for claims established in 2016 and $6,888 in 2017.
**** Shareable.

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