The federal government has temporarily set a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% to calculate Employment Insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
People living in regions where the unemployment rate is below this threshold will have their EI benefits calculated at this rate.
In regions with a higher unemployment rate, benefits will be calculated using the actual rate for that region.
By taking this step, the government says it recognizes that the pandemic continues to make labor market conditions uncertain and unpredictable across the country.
According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate was 10.9% in July, down from 12.3% in June and down from a record high of 13.7% in May.
More than 1.6 million Canadians have returned to work since Ottawa launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) which has provided income support to more than 8.5 million Canadians.
“As we carefully and gradually restart parts of our economy, we recognize that many working Canadians continue to face challenges,” said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Inclusion of people with disabilities.
“Temporary use of a national minimum unemployment rate for the EI program will help more people access regular EI benefits and give eligible Canadians access to a minimum of 26 weeks of benefits, ”said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.