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Statistics Canada reports 698,800 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits in February, virtually unchanged from the previous month.

The number of people receiving regular EI benefits has declined by 130,500 since the peak of 829,300 last June.

The agency says 237,500 initial and renewal claims were received in February, down slightly from the previous month.

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The number of claims edged down in most provinces, particularly in Ontario (down 2,700), Quebec (1,600) and Alberta (1,000).

The number of initial and renewal claims received has been on a downward trend since May 2009, with declines in every province.

In Ontario, the number of people receiving regular benefits declined by 6,100 to 224,100, a 21.8-per-cent drop from a year earlier.

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