Area of Law: Fraud
Answer Number: 1560
Employment Insurance fraudRegion: Ontario Answer Number: 1560
What is EI fraud?
When receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, individuals must provide specific, true and accurate information about themselves, and they must complete certain responsibilities. EI fraud occurs when someone intentionally provides false or misleading information, or withholds information about an EI claim.
How is employment insurance fraud committed?
According to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the federal department responsible for EI, common examples of EI fraud include:
- saying that you cannot look for, or accept a job because you are sick, pregnant, caring for your newborn or newly adopted child, or caring for a gravely ill family member and this is not true,
- not declaring all actual or expected gross earnings, including self-employment earnings or earnings you will receive later,
- not informing ESDC when you do any unpaid work, such as volunteer work,
- not providing accurate and complete information, and
- not reporting all absences from Canada, including when you leave the country for a vacation.
Penalties for committing fraud
If someone receiving EI benefits knowingly makes false or misleading statements they will likely be fined. While the amount of the fine varies, they may have to pay:
- up-to 150% of any overpayment received (which is the total of any benefits that were actually paid plus a percentage of the value of any benefits that could have been paid because of the fraud), or
- three times their benefit rate for every false statement, whichever amount is lower.
In addition, ESDC may record a violation on their EI file, in which case, the individual will have to work additional hours to qualify for EI benefits in the future.
Prosecution for EI fraud
EI fraud is considered a serious offence. Along with fines, an individual receiving EI benefits, or anyone involved in the fraud could be prosecuted under either the Employment Insurance Act or the Criminal Code. This includes EI claimants, employers, and third parties.
For more information on Employment Insurance fraud, visit canada.ca.
For more information about Employment Insurance, refer to our Employment Law section.
If you discover you are a victim of fraud, it is a good idea to contact a fraud recovery expert for advice.
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