7. Access to EI Training Benefits
EI training benefits are intended to help EI beneficiaries gain the skills they need to get a new job. To qualify for training benefits funded through EI, one first has to qualify for EI income support.
Funds for training are taken from employers' and employees’ contributions to the EI program and are transferred to the provinces, which are responsible for delivering training services through local deliverers such as colleges. Most provinces also contribute to these EI-funded training programs.
The federal and provincial governments also provide some funding for training for the non-EI eligible unemployed. In general, however, there are fewer training opportunities available for non-EI recipients than there are available for unemployed people who qualify for EI.
Consider the following:
- A self-employed person that sees clients dry-up may be able to benefit from training by gaining the skills that clients and businesses need
- A new immigrant may benefit from training to help secure Canadian credentials
- Those who do not have enough hours to qualify for EI may benefit most from access to training programs
- An unemployed worker in a declining industry may be able to benefit from training before they lose their job
Such people are currently ineligible for the bulk of federal training funding, which is directed only to EI beneficiaries.
Scenario: Access to Employment Insurance Training Benefits
Negin, Mona, and James all want to change their employment situations. They are each willing to put in the effort required to gain new skills.
- Negin lost her job last month after 10 years of full-time work in an industry that is now in decline. She is looking for full-time work again and expects that she will need to re-train.
- Mona has struggled to find stable employment for some time. She has just lost a part-time job she had for 4 months and would like to find another part-time job, but ideally in a more highly skilled sector.
- James has worked part and full-time sporadically over the past two years, but hasn’t found the stable, full-time job he wants. He is looking to make a change.
Access to training programs could probably improve prospects for Negin, Mona, and James. They would each make use of financial supports for training if given the opportunity. The three Canadians described above would have differing access to EI training benefits:
- Negin would would be eligible for training benefits since she has worked full-time for a significant period of time.
- Mona may or may not qualify for training benefits depending on the number of hours she worked and the level of unemployment in her region. In a region with higher unemployment, Mona would likely qualify. If she lived in a low unemployment region, she very well might not.
- James has worked intermittently and has not accrued the hours of work to qualify. He would not have access to EI-funded training regardless of the level of unemployment in his region.