Number of EI beneficiaries waning
As the economy has recovered and benefits have run out, the number of EI beneficiaries has come down
By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 28 January 2022 1 min read
The number of Albertans collecting Employment Insurance (EI) ballooned when the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was scrapped in favour of directing people out of work because of the pandemic to the EI program.
In February 2020 (the month before the pandemic was declared), there were 62,680* Albertans collecting regular EI benefits. The number rose to 161,980 in October 2020 (the month after CERB ended) and peaked at 219,000 in January 2021.
Nationally, the number of EI beneficiaries went from 589,020 in February 2020 to a peak of 1,759,420 in February 2021.
As the economy has recovered and benefits have run out, the number of EI beneficiaries has come down, but remains elevated. As of November 2021, there were 74,760 EI beneficiaries in Alberta, but we will likely see this number fall as we get data for subsequent months.
The temporary loosening of EI eligibility requirements that took place earlier in the pandemic are scheduled to end in September 2022.
It is important to note that not everyone out of work receives EI. In November 2021, there were 174,100 unemployed Albertans compared to 74,760 collecting regular EI benefits for a coverage rate of just 43%.
*The data have not been adjusted for seasonal variation.
Answer to the previous trivia question: The Alberta government abolished gender-based segregation of bars in all parts of the province in 1967. (Mixed drinking in beer parlours was already allowed in Calgary and Edmonton after the passing of a plebiscite in 1957.)
Today’s trivia question: Which province was the last to introduce minimum wage legislation that covered both men and women?