Unemployed Canadians Running Out of Benefits Before Finding Jobs, Report Says

February 1, 2010, 12:28 PM EST


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A new report reveals that hundreds of thousands of unemployed Canadians may run out of Employment Insurance benefits before they can find a new job.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report indicates that 500,000 Canadians who launched EI claims last year could have benefits run out with no job prospect on the horizon.

The report,which was written by CLC chief economist Andrew Jackson, highlights that 120,000 more unemployed Canadians could not collect benefits as of October 2009, compared to October of the year before, prior to the recession.

"We can expect that the total number of new regular claims in 2009 will (have) hit about two million," Jackson said. "If the exhaustion rate were to remain the same as in 2006-07, we could eventually see some 500,000 plus exhausted claims in late 2009 and into 2010."

Although the report credited the government for extending benefits by five more weeks, it said these changes were not enough to handle the additional demands caused by the recession.

Even with EI system improvements, only about half of those unemployed across Canada were collecting benefits as of last October. In Ontario, which has been hard hit by the recession, the number collecting benefits is about 41 per cent, Jackson said.

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