Canada Employment Insurance (EI) – All You Need To Know

The Canada Employment Insurance (EI) offers unemployed workers temporary income support while they search for work or improve their skills. 

Canada employment insurance 2023


The Canada Employment Insurance (EI) program offers unemployed workers temporary income support while they search for work or improve their skills. 

Workers who take time off from work due to significant life events are also entitled to additional benefits under the EI program.

These events may include illness, pregnancy, caring for a child or an ill or injured person, or caring for a family member who is gravely sick and facing death. 

However, only those who have paid premiums in the previous years and meet eligibility and entitlement requirements are eligible for EI compensation.

In addition, self-employed workers are also eligible to enrol in EI and get specific benefits.

In this article, you can learn about the following: 

Canada Employment Insurance (EI) Eligibility Criteria

Employment Insurance (EI) offers consistent benefits to those who lose their jobs without their fault (for instance, due to a labour shortage, seasonal or mass layoffs), are willing and able to work, but cannot find employment.

As soon as you stop working, you should always apply for EI benefits. You can still claim benefits even if you have not yet received your employment record.

However, you risk losing benefits if you wait more than four weeks to submit your claim for benefits after your final day of employment.

To qualify for Employment Insurance, you need to demonstrate the following: 

  • Have been working in jobs that could be insured
  • You were not at no fault for losing your job
  • Were unemployed and unpaid for at least 7 days in a row within the previous 52 weeks
  • Have accumulated the necessary number of insurable job hours over the last 52 weeks or from the beginning of your most recent EI claim, whichever is shorter.
    • Generally, you need a minimum of 420 hours of insurable employment to qualify
  • Need to be prepared, willing, and capable of working every day
  • Must actively seek employment and keep a written record of employers you contacted and when 

To demonstrate your eligibility and get payments, you must complete bi-weekly reports via the internet or phone. Failure to comply may result in the loss of benefits.

Who is not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits? 

You may be ineligible for Employment Insurance benefits if the following apply to you: 

  • Leaving your job voluntarily without a cause 
  • Being dismissed for misconduct 
  • You became unemployed by participating in a labour dispute such as a strike, lockout, or other conflicts
  • When on leave to make up time spent working under an arrangement with your company, you may put in more time than is typical for full-time employment.

How much Employment Insurance (EI) benefit can you receive? 

The basic rate for determining Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for most people is 55% of their average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount.

The maximum annual insurable wages as of January 1, 2022, is $60,300. As a result, your weekly income is at a maximum of $638.

The employment insurance benefits you receive depend on your region and area. Enter your postal code here to check your employment insurance economic region benefits. 

How long can you get benefits in Canada? 

Depending on the unemployment rate in your area at the time of submitting your claim and the number of insurable hours you’ve accumulated in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim, whichever is shorter, you can get EI for as little as 14 weeks or as long as 45 weeks.

If you move to a different area after your benefit period starts, the number of weeks you may get benefits remains the same.

Check out the Government of Canada’s employment insurance page for more information.


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