Canada Service centre documents that display Employment Insurance options are pictured in Ottawa on July 7, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada Service centre documents that display Employment Insurance options are pictured in Ottawa on July 7, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

The federal government has temporarily set a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent to calculate employment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those people living in regions with an unemployment rate lower than that threshold will have their EI benefits calculated at that rate.

In regions with a higher unemployment rate, benefits will be calculated using the actual rate for that region.

In taking this action, the government says it recognizes that the pandemic continues to make labour market conditions uncertain and unpredictable across the country.

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June and sliding further away from the record-high 13.7 per cent in May.

More than 1.6 million Canadians have returned to work since Ottawa launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) that has provided income support for more than 8.5 million Canadians.

“As we carefully and gradually restart parts of our economy, we recognize that many Canadian workers continue to face challenges,” stated Carla Qualtrough, minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.

“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,” stated Carla Qualtrough, minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.

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