The Canadian government offers employment insurance benefits to citizens who have lost their jobs under certain circumstances. However, you must meet the eligibility requirements for employment insurance in Canada.
Knowing the negative impact of unemployment on citizens and permanent residents, the government introduced different types of EI. Through these benefits, all eligible workers are paid some amount for the period they are unemployed.
You will receive your unemployment benefit until you can find a new job. First, you must show evidence that you are looking for a job. With this evidence, you may be able to receive your EI.
For this reason, this article will focus on the eligibility requirements for employment insurance in Canada, types of employment insurance, benefits of EI, and the advantages. Thus, this article will be helpful to you as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
What is Employment Insurance?
Whenever you hear about Employment Insurance (EI), it simply means a kind of money paid to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are unemployed for some reason.
Most times, it can be due to illness, pregnancy, or taking care of a sick family member. This is a temporary way of catering to these people until they can work again. This can also be offered to workers who have lost their jobs and are still looking for jobs.
Advantages of EI benefits
The following are the advantages of having an employment insurance benefit.
- Income assistance
- Financial assistance
- Workshare benefits
- Impact on the economy
Disadvantages of EI benefits
Employment insurance has the following disadvantages. They include:
- Negative economic incentives
- Feeding into unemployment
Eligibility criteria for employment insurance in Canada
The eligibility requirements for employment insurance in Canada could be classified into two. First, they are general requirements and requirements for specific work conditions.
General eligibility requirements for employment insurance in Canada
Once you lose your job in Canada, you must report to the Employment Insurance Authority to determine if you qualify for unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, the requirements below are the eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits in Canada. The requirements include that you:
- were employed in insurable employment
- lost your job through no fault of your own
- are affected by flooding or wildfires
- have been without work and pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks
- have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim
- are ready, willing, and capable of working each day
- are actively looking for work (a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them, must be available)
Eligibility requirements for employment insurance in Canada for specific work conditions
Some jobs have specific conditions for qualifying for employment insurance. Below are some jobs that need specific work conditions for their unemployment benefits. They include:
Specific conditions for farmers
Suppose you are still determining if you meet the eligibility criteria for employment benefits in Canada as a farmer. Then, you must meet the following requirements:
- have accumulated enough insurable hours to qualify for EI benefits
- meet the entitlement criteria for the type of EI benefit you applied to receive
- demonstrate that you are unemployed through no fault of your own for each week you claim EI benefits
- are actively looking for another job and are ready, willing, and capable of working each day
- your farming activities (self-employment) are determined to be minor in extent
Specific conditions for fishers
As an angler, you can qualify for special EI if you are a self-employed fisher looking for work. Notably, fishers, unlike other professions, receive employment benefits based on earnings and not insurable hours of employment.
There are also specific conditions for the following persons:
- Force Members
- Self-employed people
- Workers and residents outside of Canada
Who does not meet the eligibility requirements for Employment Insurance in Canada
The following persons do not qualify for employment insurance in Canada.
- when you voluntarily left your job without just cause
- if you were dismissed for misconduct
- when you participate in a labor dispute (for example, a strike, lockout, or another type of conflict)
- during a period of leave that compensates for a period in which you worked under an agreement with your employer
Types of Unemployment Benefits and the eligibility criteria for employment insurance in Canada
The eligibility requirements for employment insurance (EI) in Canada are determined by your location and the kind of benefits you applied for. These kinds of benefits include:
#1 Income Benefits
This is a temporary income that provides support while you look for work or while you cannot work.
#2 Regular Benefits
You may be eligible for regular benefits if you lose your job.
To be eligible for this kind of benefit, you must:
- Have worked the required hours in your area, which you must be within the last year. This number is usually 420-700 hours, but it is based on your area’s unemployment rate.
- Have paid into the Employment Insurance program. Usually, your employer deducts an EI amount from your paycheque. This is how you pay into the EI program.
- Be without pay for at least one week (7 days).
Typically, you are not eligible for EI regular benefits if you:
- Quit your job without a good reason.
- Are sacked for a good reason.
- Have not worked for a certain period.
- Have not paid into the EI program (for instance, consultants, contract workers, etc.).
#3 Special Benefits
For all types of special benefits, you must meet the following eligibility criteria for employment insurance in Canada:
- You are losing 40% or more of your weekly income, and
- You have worked 600 hours or more since your last claim or in the previous 52 weeks.
#4 Maternity Benefits
Maternity benefits are for pregnant women or having just given birth to a baby.
- You must sign a statement that indicates the exact date your baby will be born or the date the baby was born.
#5 Parental Benefits
This benefit is for mothers or fathers who just had a newborn baby or an adopted child.
- You must sign a statement that says when the baby was born or when the adopted child was placed with you.
#6 Sickness Benefits
You may be eligible for sickness benefits if you are sick, hurt, or quarantined.
- You must get a medical certificate to confirm you are sick and how long you have been sick or hurt.
- You must demonstrate that you cannot work but would work if you were not hurt or sick.
#7 Compassionate Care Benefits
You may take time off work to attend to a sick family member. Then, you might be qualified for compassionate care benefits.
- Your sick family member must be at risk of dying within 26 weeks.
- Your family member must be on the list of qualifying family members.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much can I receive as EI benefit?
You can receive as much as 55% of your income as benefits. However, the maximum amount you can receive is $60,300 annually or $638 per week.
How long can I receive the EI benefit?
You can receive unemployment benefits for up to 14 weeks. The maximum is 45 weeks from the first day you started receiving your benefit. This means you no longer meet the eligibility requirements for employment insurance in Canada.
When do I start receiving my EI benefits?
If you are eligible, you will receive your benefits 28 days after applying for unemployment benefits. However, If you’re not suitable, we’ll notify you of the decision made about your application.
When will I stop receiving my benefits?
You will stop receiving your unemployment benefits under the following conditions. If you:
- receive all the weeks of benefits to which you were entitled
- the payment timeframe during which you can receive benefits ends
- you stop filing your bi-weekly report
- you request a termination of your claim to file a new claim
Can I receive unemployment benefits while in jail?
You do not qualify for EI benefits while you are in jail. However, if you’ve been incarcerated but are later found not guilty by a court of law on all counts concerning the event that led to your incarceration, your qualifying period and benefit period may be extended upon providing necessary proof.
In conclusion, once you lose your job, you can file your application to know if you qualify for any Employment Insurance. If you meet the eligibility criteria for employment insurance in Canada, you will receive benefits after 28 days of your formal application.
If, on the other hand, your application is denied, you can send another application within 30 days after the decision was communicated to you. You can contact Service Canada to help you with your reconsideration request.