Canada Employment Insurance Commission announces 2018 Employment Insurance premium rate and maximum insurable earnings

News Release

September 14, 2017                 Gatineau, Quebec             Employment and Social Development Canada

The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) today announced that the Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate for 2018 is $1.66 per $100 of insurable earnings for 2018. This represents a 3 cent increase for employees over the 2017 rate, and 4 cents for employers who pay 1.4 times the employee rate.

The CEIC sets the premium rate each year based on the seven-year break-even rate, which is a rate forecast to balance the EI Operating Account over a seven-year horizon, eliminating any cumulative surplus or deficit. As of December 31, 2018, the cumulative surplus in the EI account is expected to be $252 million, down from $675 million at year-end 2017.

New EI measures introduced in Budget 2017, as well as revised cost estimates for elements of Budget 2016 to help Canadians in affected regions, have increased projected program costs by about $3.6 billion over the forecast period. However, the increase in the forecast break-even rate is partially offset by the performance of the Canadian economy, which was better than previously forecast.

The CEIC also announced today that for residents of Quebec covered under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP), premiums will be reduced by $0.36 per $100 of insurable earnings. As such, they will pay $1.30 per $100 of insurable earnings. EI premium rates are lower for residents of Quebec, because the province of Quebec administers its own parental insurance plan, which is financed by Quebec workers and their employers.

The Maximum Insurable Earnings for 2018 will increase to $51,700 from $51,300 in 2017. The MIE is indexed on an annual basis and represents the ceiling up to which EI premiums are collected and the maximum amount considered in applications for EI benefits. 

Additionally, the CEIC announced the premium reductions for employers registered under the Premium Reduction Program. For 2018, it is estimated that the reductions will provide registered employers and their employees with $981 million in premium relief. Registered employers will be notified individually, as individual reductions may vary.

For self-employed Canadians who have opted-in to the EI program, the annual earnings required to qualify for special benefits will increase to $6,947 on January 1, 2018, up from $6,888 for 2017. The level of earnings required by self-employed Canadians to be eligible for EI special benefits is indexed annually to growth in the MIE. 

In addition to these changes, the CEIC has made public today the EI premium rate setting reports. To ensure continued transparency and accountability in the rate setting process, the Chief Actuary’s report on the EI premium rate, and the CEIC’ summary of that report are available at

The CEIC is a tripartite organization, representing the interests of workers, employers, and government. The Commissioner for Workers and the Commissioner for Employers are appointed by the Governor in Council for terms of up to five years. They are mandated to represent and reflect the views of their respective constituencies.

To learn more information about the CEIC, please visit

Quick Facts

  • The 2018 premium rate of $1.66 per $100 of insurable earnings, up from $1.63 in 2017, still represents a reduction of 22 cents from the 2016 rate of $1.88.

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