05/24/2012 08:49 EDT | Updated 07/24/2012 05:12 EDT

Number of people on EI little changed in March: StatsCan

OTTAWA - The number of Canadians receiving regular employment insurance benefits was little changed in March, a month when the economy added more than 82,000 jobs.

Statistics Canada says the number of EI beneficiaries has been relatively stable since last September and stood at 549,400 in March.

It says there were more people receiving benefits in March in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick, but the number fell in Alberta.

The report issued on Thursday deals with a period before the federal government indicated last week that it plans to change the rules for people who wish to receive benefits under the EI program.

Nationally, the number of initial and renewal claims for employment insurance totalled 234,200 in March, essentially unchanged for the sixth consecutive month.

Provincially, claims fell 2.9 per cent in Ontario, 2.6 per cent in British Columbia, and 1.7 per cent in Alberta, while they rose 2.6 per cent in Quebec and 1.1 per cent in New Brunswick.