Claims for EI health benefits have risen in Quebec over the past year, according to the federal government data show, another psychological evolution of the health crisis, experts believe.
“The impact of COVID is usually very clear in the work world, but also on health. Many people suffer from depression or anxiety disorders,” said Pierre Corey, a spokesman for the National Unemployment Council (CNC).
Recent analyzes from Employment and Social Development Canada indicate that 122,878 claims for employment purposes were made between September 27, 2020 and March 28, 2021 by CubeSessers. Of these three, the province registered an average of 133 000 requests. Years before the health crisis.
So in six months, Quebec has almost a full “disease” of beneficiaries for the entire pre-pandemic year.
“These figures give a very good indication of the severity of the crisis,” Mr Corey pointed out.
According to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, nearly 2.7 million Quebecs are believed to have “many more sick leave during the epidemic” if they were covered by private disability insurance.
“Isn’t the increase in health benefits claims related to an increase in depression and anxiety? This is a valid hypothesis,” observes Professor Frederick Lauzon-Dugue in the Department of Human and Human Resources at UQAM.
Calls to the CNC also testify that “the health crisis is particularly difficult for mental health,” Mr Corey confirmed.
The same thing happens in family physicians ‘offices, “said Jean-Pierre Dione, director of communications at the General Practitioners’ Federation in Quebec (FMOQ).
Expand the benefits
The duration of employment insurance sickness benefits will be reduced from 15 to 26 weeks “by the end of the summer of 2022,” Employment and Social Development Canada said.
However, this extension is considered inadequate by many beneficiaries.
“I took out my full health insurance. I needed more, but it ended there. I thought it was normal. I’m been paying her for 30 years and this is the first time I have asked for it,” said Melanie of Lonardier, who worked for a break at the end of 2020 due to an unknown illness. Parent, 47, whose symptoms are similar to those of chronic Kovid.
The accounting technician decided to return to her “great dissatisfaction” in January, “because even today it is hard for me to work full time,” she said.
Employment Insurance Illness Benefits
- Workers without private insurance have been receiving employment insurance sickness benefits since 1971.
- People who are unable to work due to medical reasons are paid for them for a maximum of 15 weeks.
- In 2021, these benefits will be equal to 55% of the total average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $ 595.