Do I qualify to apply for Employment Insurance?
If you have lost your job or cannot work, the Canadian government has programs to help – but you must meet certain requirements to receive it.
Here is information on the existing EI program and first details on the government’s plan for COVID-19 worker support.
EXISTING Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own and are available for and able to work, but can’t find a job. For most people, the basic rate for calculating benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount of $573 per week. However, you have to meet certain requirements to receive it.
You may be able to get Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits if you:
• were employed in insurable employment;
• lost your job through no fault of your own;
• have been without work and without 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
• are ready, willing and capable of working each day;
• are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them).
See our blog post for more detail on how benefits amounts and length of time are calculated
Some employers provide their own paid sick leave or short-term disability plan, so before you apply for E.I. Sickness Benefits, find out if you have employer-paid sick leave. You qualify if
– you cannot work because you lost your job or had to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19
– you accumulated 600 insured hours* (equal to 20 weeks work at 30 hours a week) of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your claim
SPECIAL government support programs for COVID-19
On March 18, the Canadian government announced they will introduce plans to help Canadian workers and families. These new programs will be introduced in April and include:
- Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly, up to 15 weeks, to provide income support to workers, including the self-employed, who have to stay home and don’t qualify for paid sick leave or employment insurance.
- Emergency Support Benefit to provide support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
Full details of how to qualify and apply will be announced later. The Canadian government must sign off on these new programs and we expect Parliament to do that next week. We will keep you updated as more details become clear.
Click here, for more information on the Canadian government’s COVID-19 economic response plan.