Fewer unemployed women on P.E.I. received employment insurance benefits in 2013.

A lower percentage of all unemployed on P.E.I. received benefits in 2013, and the numbers were even lower for women.

Unemployed P.E.I. women receiving EI benefits

(average per month)

Unemployed Receiving benefits %
2012 3,900 3,672 94.2%
Jan. - Nov. 2013 4,000 3,093 77.3%

An analysis by CBC News shows that the percentage of unemployed P.E.I. women receiving employment insurance benefits in 2012 was close to the same as that for the general population, about 95 per cent.

From January to November of 2013 the percentage for the general population fell to about 81 per cent. For women, it fell even further: to 77 per cent.

The federal government has made a number of changes to the employment insurance program over the last year and a half. In August 2012, rules around part-time earnings workers can retain while collecting EI changed. In the following month the government allowed a pilot project that provided five extra weeks of benefits in designated high unemployment regions to expire.

In January of last year rules were introduced that require frequent claimants to accept jobs at 70 per cent of their original pay level, within a one-hour radius of home. In April, changes were made to the number of weeks used to calculate benefits. Some recipients saw a reduction in their biweekly benefit payment.

Federal response

CBC asked Employment and Social Development Canada for its interpretation of the statistics. In an email response the department said the numbers include "many people for whom the program is not designed to serve, such as those who have not worked in the past year, have quit their job without just cause or have no insurable employment."

The department said the decrease in the number of regular EI beneficiaries can be attributed to various factors, including an improving economy.

"For example, while the number of regular EI beneficiaries declined in P.E.I. by 980 from November 2012 to November 2013, employment in P.E.I. increased by 600 over the same time frame.

"The Government of Canada has introduced changes to make the EI program more responsive, fair and flexible, while continuing to support Canadians when they need it most. The Connecting Canadians with Available Jobs initiative clarifies long-standing rules for EI claimants and provides information and tools to help unemployed Canadians get back to work more quickly in their local area."

Of those people who were disqualified from EI, far fewer than one per cent were disqualified because they failed to search for work or refused to accept suitable work," said the department.

"This is the case both nationwide and in P.E.I. In 2013, approximately 80 per cent of the increase in the number of disentitlements and disqualifications was due to claimants being outside the country. These disentitlements are not new and have nothing to do with the recent changes to EI.

"For Canadians who live in areas where unemployment is higher or where the jobs simply do not exist out of season or out of specialized industries, the EI program will be there for them, as it always has been."

Corrections

  • The table on this story previously added all the months of each year together, giving an incorrect impression of the number of unemployed on P.E.I. at any given time. The new table shows a monthly average. The percentage of unemployed receiving benefits is unchanged.
    Jan 28, 2014 11:26 AM AT