Area of Law: Employment Law
Answer Number: 611
How much does EI pay?Region: Ontario Answer Number: 611
If you qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, in most circumstances, you will receive 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up-to a maximum amount. The amount paid is based on a maximum yearly insurable earnings amount. For 2018, this amount is $51,700. The maximum weekly benefit is $547.
Since April 2013, EI benefits are calculated based on your highest weeks (known as “best weeks”) of earnings over the past 52 weeks (or since the start of your last claim). The “best weeks” calculation does not apply to people receiving fishing benefits or self-employed benefits.
For regions of Canada with the highest rates of unemployment, EI benefits are calculated using the best 14 weeks; while EI benefits in the regions with the lowest rates of unemployment are calculated using the best 22 weeks. For other regions, depending on their unemployment rate, the number of weeks used to calculate benefits will be somewhere between 14 and 22.
Visit canada.ca for more information on how the amount of benefits you can receive is determined.
There are circumstances in which your benefits may be reduced or increased.
When can EI benefits be reduced?
The amount of your EI benefits may be reduced if:
- you have collected a certain amount of EI benefits in the past,
- you earn other money while collecting benefits, (except if you work under the parameters of the Working While on Claim project – see below)
- you collect money from:
- a wrongful dismissal lawsuit,
- your own business,
- retirement income from a government or employment pension, or
- severance pay.
Even if you receive these payments after you have finished collecting benefits, you may be required to pay back all or part of the benefits you collected.
There are some types of earnings that will not reduce your benefits. These include income from private RRSPs and disability pensions.
Working While on Claim project
Under the EI Working While on Claim (WWC) project, people receiving most types of EI benefits will be able to keep a portion of their benefits along with earnings from any part-time or occasional employment. There are two options to choose from when taking part in the project:
- The “default rule” option allows you to keep 50 cents of EI benefits for every dollar you earn in wages, up-to a maximum of 90% of your previous weekly earnings.
- The “optional rule” allows you to keep the equivalent of up-to roughly one day’s work (defined as $75 or 40% of your benefit rate, whichever is greater) without any deduction from your benefits.
Any money earned above the threshold for either of these options will be deducted from your benefits.
If you are collecting EI benefits, you are automatically eligible for the WWC program, and you do not need to make a separate application. The “default rule” will automatically apply to your claim, unless you choose the second option. The WWC project will be in effect until August 2018.
You are not eligible under the WWC project if:
- you work a full work week, regardless of the amount you earn,
- you are receiving sickness or maternity benefits,
- you are a self-employed claimant.
For more information on the WWC project, visit Service Canada.
Family Supplement – low income families
If you are considered to be part of a low income family, you are eligible to receive extra EI benefits through the Family Supplement. You are considered to be low-income if:
- your net family income is not higher than $25,921 per year,
- you have children, and
- you or your spouse received the Canada Child Benefit
How much you will receive is based on your income and the number of children and their ages. This amount will automatically be added to your EI payment. If you and your spouse claim EI benefits at the same time, only one of you can receive the Family Supplement.
More information on the EI Family Supplement can be found from Service Canada.
Taxation of EI benefits
It is important to note that EI benefits are taxable, meaning federal and provincial or territorial taxes, where applicable, will be deducted from your payment.
There are many factors that are considered when the amount of EI benefits you will be paid is calculated. To find out how much you are entitled to, or for more information, visit canada.ca.
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For legal advice and assistance with employment matters, contact our preferred Employment lawyers and see who’s right for you:
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