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Types of EI benefits

Region: Ontario Answer # 608

Employment Insurance (EI) is a program run by the Government of Canada to reduce the financial hardship many employees experience when they lose their job or are unable to work. Most employees in Ontario pay Employment Insurance premiums as a deduction from their pay.

There are seven types of benefits available to qualifying employees.

  1. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you can collect regular benefits.
  2. If you need time off during pregnancy or to care for a child, you can collect maternity or parental benefits.
  3. If you cannot work because of sickness, injury or quarantine, you can collect sickness benefits.
  4. Compassionate care benefits are available for those who have to take time off work temporarily, to provide care or support to a family member who is seriously ill and who has a significant risk of death within 26 weeks (6 months).
  5. Fishing benefits are available for those self-employed in fishing, who are temporarily not earning an income from fishing (see below for more information).
  6. The Family Caregiver Benefit for Children provides up-to 35 weeks of benefits available to caregivers who take leave from work to provide care or support to their critically ill or injured child (under 18 years of age).
  7. The Family Caregiver Benefit for Adults provides up-to 15 weeks of benefits available to caregivers who take leave from work to provide care or support to their critically ill or injured adult family member (18 or over). 

Employment Insurance special benefits for self-employed people

Self-employed individuals also have the option to access Employment Insurance special benefits, namely:

  • maternity,
  • parental,
  • sickness,
  • compassionate care,
  • family caregiver benefits for caregivers of critically ill or injured children, and
  • family caregiver benefits for caregivers of critically ill or injured adults.

In order to qualify, a self-employed person must first register with the Canada Employment Insurance Commission. They must also meet several criteria, including: being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; operating his or her own business, or own more than 40% of a corporation’s voting shares, and be ineligible for regular EI benefits. A self-employed individual must wait at least 12 months from registering before qualifying for special benefits. Visit canada.ca for more information.

Fishing benefits

EI fishing benefits are available to qualifying, self-employed fishers who are actively seeking work. Eligibility for EI fishing benefits is based on earnings, not insurable hours of employment, unlike regular EI benefits. Other benefits fishers may be eligible to receive include sickness, maternity, parental, compassionate care and/or family caregiver benefits

Benefits for Canadians working abroad

Canadians who work or live outside of Canada may also be eligible for EI benefits. There are many rules established to determine if a person is entitled to collect benefits. For more information and to access forms online, visit canada.ca.

A criminal record will appear on an employment police check and will affect your ability to get or keep a job. To erase your criminal record, learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

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