Finley says employment insurance data a victim of technical glitches

OTTAWA – A government spokeswoman says public access to some key employment insurance data was cut off because of technical glitches that may soon be resolved.

Alyson Queen, spokeswoman for Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, says part of the raw data flow to Statistics Canada was frozen 14 months ago but will eventually resume.

She did not say when, nor did she say why the information flow was shut down, but Statscan officials explained earlier this week that there were concerns about inconsistencies in the data.

Statscan had been making the EI information available to the public upon request until this month.

But in May, Queen says there was a “technical glitch” with a server that transferred data from her department to Statscan, and it will be fixed “soon.”

The missing data deals mainly with the dollar value of employment insurance payments to each province every month.

Critics were suspicious of the timing of the data drying up, since Finley has also just announced major changes to the way employment insurance will work.

“Loss of data will make it much more difficult to analyse the impacts of changes to the EI rules as they are implemented,” said Andrew Jackson, chief economist at the Canadian Labour Congress.