Government Temporarily Sets a Minimum Unemployment Rate for EI


OTTAWA — The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced that, effective August 9, a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent will be applied temporarily for all Employment Insurance (EI) economic regions across Canada.

This change has been made in recognition that the pandemic continues to make labour-market conditions uncertain and unpredictable across the country.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our government has taken action to support Canadians and businesses facing financial hardship. As we carefully and gradually re-start parts of our economy, we recognize many Canadian workers continue to face challenges,” says Qualtrough. “The temporary use of a national minimum-unemployment rate for the EI program will help more people access EI regular benefits and provide eligible Canadians with access to a minimum 26 weeks of benefits.”

When individuals begin transitioning off of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) back to EI regular benefits at the end of this month, those living in EI regions with an unemployment rate lower than 13.1 per cent will have their EI benefits calculated on the basis of the 13.1-per-cent rate, while individuals living in regions with a higher unemployment rate will have their benefits calculated using the actual rate for that region.

This temporary measure will establish minimum entry requirements for EI eligibility across the country for Canadians to access the income support they need now or might need later as the country continues to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19.

This is the first in a series of steps set to be announced in the coming weeks that will help eligible Canadians transition from emergency-income measures back into the EI system and into the labour force.

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