Government of Canada announces greater flexibility to the EI system

News release

August 16, 2018                      Gatineau, Quebec             Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to improving the Employment Insurance (EI) system so that it is able to help with the realities of the modern workforce.  When hard-working middle class Canadians become sick or go on maternity leave, they often depend on EI for support. However, those that wished to manage their return to work have had limited flexibility to do so without jeopardizing their benefits.

Today, the Honourable Jean‑Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced that effective immediately the EI Working While on Claim (WWC) rules have been extended to EI maternity and sickness benefits, including for eligible self-employed persons.

WWC allows EI claimants to earn income while receiving EI benefits and helps them to transition back to employment. To better meet the needs of Canadians, the Government of Canada is introducing the following improvements to WWC:

  • the 50 cents for every dollar earned rule becomes a permanent part of the EI program; and
  • the WWC rules are extended to now apply to sickness and maternity benefits


“Our government is committed to modernizing the EI system to better reflect the needs of hard working middle class Canadians. Extending the Working While on Claim to EI maternity and sickness benefits will provide workers with greater flexibility and help them keep more EI benefits if they are able to work.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Quick facts

  • If you work or receive earnings while receiving EI, you can keep 50 cents of your EI benefits for every dollar you earn, up to 90 percent of the weekly insurable earnings used to calculate your EI benefit rate. Any earnings above that amount are deducted dollar-for-dollar.

  • These new permanent measures mean over 800,000 EI beneficiaries will continue to be able to supplement their EI benefits with work income by accepting part-time work.

  • An alternative earnings rule is temporarily available until August 2021 to claimants who chose under Pilot Project 20 to revert to the rules of a previous pilot.

  • For more information on this alternative option, and to learn more about these improvements, read the included backgrounder or visit the WWC web page.

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Michael Brewster
A/Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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