Employment Insurance (EI) benefits

Region: Ontario Answer # 7211

Canadians who continue to need income support due to circumstances related to COVID-19 could be eligible for either a temporary, simplified Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or one of three new Canada Recovery Benefits.

Under temporary changes to the EI program, regular benefits provide 50 weeks (up from 26 weeks) of income replacement for claims made between September 27, 2020 and November 21, 2021, while sickness benefits provide up-to 26 weeks. Regular benefits are available to eligible people who lose their jobs due to no fault of their own, and are available for and able to work, but can’t find a job. Sickness benefits are available for those who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine.

Changes to EI benefits

There are a number of changes to the EI program to help Canadians needing support during COVID-19. The minimum benefit rate for EI clients is $300 per week before taxes in most cases. Access to EI benefits is normally based on the number of insurable hours an individual has worked in the year prior to their application, or since their last claim. Under the new program, the qualifying period is:

  • the 52-week period immediately before the start date of your claim. or
  • the period from the start of a previous benefit period to the start of your new benefit period, if you applied for benefits earlier and your application was approved in the last 52 weeks

Insurable hours until September 24, 2022: 420 hours

Insurable hours after September 24, 2022: between 420 and 700 hours

What is required to continue receiving EI benefits?

Recipients must make “reasonable and ongoing job search efforts” while receiving EI. This can include:

  • contacting employers
  • preparing a resume or cover letter
  • registering and searching job banks
  • submitting job applications

What if you are not eligible for EI: Canada Recovery Benefits

Canadians affected financially by COVID-19 who don’t qualify for EI may be eligible for the following benefits:

  1. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSC) for workers who are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19.
  2. The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) for people who can’t work because they need to care for a child or dependent for reasons related to COVID-19.

More info

Visit the Government of Canada EI website for more information on the temporary changes to EI benefits, including how to make claim.

More detailed information on Employment Insurance, including the types of benefits, eligibility requirements, and how to apply can be found in Employment Law.

For information on other available supports for individuals and businesses, visit the Government of Canada Economic Response Plan website.

For up-to-date information on Coronavirus COVID-19, visit Health Canada, the World Health Organization, and our related links.


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