Employment Insurance (EI)

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

The Employment Insurance (EI) program provides temporary income support to unemployed workers while they look for employment or to upgrade their skills. The EI program also provides special benefits to workers who take time off work due to specific life events:

  • illness
  • pregnancy
  • caring for a newborn or newly adopted child
  • caring for a critically ill or injured person
  • caring for a family member who is seriously ill with a significant risk of death

Workers receive EI benefits only if they have paid premiums in the past year and meet qualifying and entitlement conditions. Self-employed workers may participate in EI and receive special benefits.

The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) plays a leadership role in overseeing the EI program. The CEIC is also responsible for setting the annual EI premium rate. Service Canada's role is:

  • to provide timely and accurate EI benefit payments and services
  • to support EI clients through each stage of the service delivery process by:
    • providing benefit information
    • responding to enquiries
    • assisting employers
    • processing claims and providing the means to appeal decisions
    • conducting client authentication and identification, and
    • preventing, detecting and deterring fraud and abuse

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