Far fewer people can access social assistance, whether they apply before or apply after exhausting an EI claim. Comparing 2007 to 2010, asymmetric EI eligibility has resulted in uniformly lower social assistance caseloads from Quebec to the East Coast but higher caseloads from Ontario to the West Coast. Other changes are resulting in far fewer lone parents receiving social assistance, while single people become the most prevalent social assistance applicants. Among single people, the increase in caseloads for younger men is a particularly worrisome trend.
This paper suggests that social and economic policies should be implemented and existing programs should be reworked in order to address the needs of single adults as the newly vulnerable in Canada. The paper also calls on government to improve access to unemployment and social assistance data for future research.