Employment Insurance maternity and parental benefits

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My Service Canada Account is a fast and convenient way to securely:

  • confirm any decision made about your Employment Insurance (EI) application;
  • see details on your payments and deductions;
  • view and update your personal information;
  • view your EI tax information slips;
  • view all Records of Employment your employers submitted electronically in the last two years;
  • view and print your Canada Pension Plan Statement of Contributions and benefit estimate; and
  • register to access EI special benefits for self-employed people.

For information on how to create your account, visit the My Service Canada Account.

What’s new

In the 2017 Budget announcement, the Government committed to provide more flexible EI maternity and parental benefits to support Canadian families. Starting December 3, 2017, claimants can access maternity benefits up to 12 weeks prior to their expected date of confinement. In addition, parents have the option to receive parental benefits over a longer period at a lower benefit rate.

What are Employment Insurance maternity and parental benefits

The Employment Insurance (EI) program offers temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers. This assistance includes providing maternity benefits and parental benefits.

The Province of Quebec is responsible for providing maternity, paternity, parental, and adoption benefits to residents of Quebec through a program called the Quebec Parental Insurance Program. All other types of EI benefits, such as regular benefits, sickness benefits, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits, remain available to residents of Quebec.

EI Special Benefits for Self-Employed People

Self-employed Canadians can apply for EI special benefits (sickness, maternity, parental, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits) if they are registered for access to the EI program. For more information please consult the publication called EI special benefits for self-employed people.

What are EI maternity benefits

EI maternity benefits are offered to biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth. A maximum of 15 weeks of EI maternity benefits is available. Effective December 3, 2017, the 15 weeks can start as early as 12 weeks before the expected date of birth, and can end as late as 17 weeks after the actual date of birth.

What are EI parental benefits

EI parental benefits are offered to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child or children.

There are two options available for receiving parental benefits: standard or extended.

  • Standard parental benefits can be paid for a maximum of 35 weeks and must be claimed within a 52-week period (12 months) after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The benefits are available to biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents at a weekly benefit rate of 55% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount. The two parents can share these 35 weeks of standard parental benefits.
  • Extended parental benefits can be paid for a maximum of 61 weeks and must be claimed within a 78-week period (18 months) after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The benefits are available to biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents at a weekly benefit rate of 33% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount. The two parents can share these 61 weeks of extended parental benefits.
    • You can choose to claim extended parental benefits only if your child was born or placed with you for the purpose of adoption on or after December 3, 2017.

Note: The number of weeks of EI maternity or parental benefits you are entitled to receive does not change, even if you have a multiple birth (twins, triplets, etc.) or if you adopt more than one child at the same time.

Are you eligible for EI maternity or parental benefits

You may be eligible to receive EI maternity or parental benefits if:

  • you are employed in insurable employment;
  • you meet the specific criteria for receiving EI maternity or parental benefits;
  • your normal weekly earnings are reduced by more than 40%; and
  • you have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period or, if you are a self-employed fisher, you have earned enough money during the qualifying period.

You have paid EI premiums

If you are employed in insurable employment, your employer will deduct the applicable EI premiums from your wages or salary. There is no minimum or maximum age for paying EI premiums.

You need to pay EI premiums on all your earnings up to a maximum amount. In 2018, for every $100 you earn, your employer will deduct $1.66, until your annual earnings reach the maximum yearly insurable amount of $51,700. The maximum amount of premiums to be paid in 2018 is therefore $858.22.

Since Quebec has its own program that offers maternity, paternity, and parental benefits, the Government of Canada has adjusted the premiums accordingly for that province. In 2018, the premium rate for workers in Quebec is set at $1.30 for every $100 of earnings, up to a maximum amount of $672.10 for the year.

Note: These rates and amounts are reviewed each year. For more information on the most recent rates and amounts, visit the EI premium rates and maximums.

You meet the specific criteria for receiving EI maternity or parental benefits

EI maternity benefits are payable only to the biological mother who is unable to work because she is pregnant or has recently given birth. To receive maternity benefits, you need to prove your pregnancy by signing a statement declaring the expected due date or the actual date of birth.

EI parental benefits are payable only to the biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents while they are caring for their newborn or newly adopted child or children. To receive parental benefits, you must sign a statement declaring the newborn's date of birth or, when there is an adoption, the child's date of placement for the purposes of the adoption and the name and address of the adoption authority. In cases where the child is not legally adoptable, parental benefits could be payable from the date you attest that you consider the placement a permanent one. In these circumstances, the Commission may, at any time, request proof certifying that the child for whom you are claiming parental benefits has been placed with you by a recognized authority and that the placement was not merely a temporary one.

Your normal weekly earnings are reduced by more than 40%

When your normal weekly earnings are reduced by more than 40% because of pregnancy or your need to care for newborn or newly adopted children, you may be eligible for EI maternity or parental benefits.

You have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period

Hours of insurable employment are the hours you work, for either one or more employers under written or verbal contracts of service, for which you receive wages.

The qualifying period is the shorter of:

  • the 52-week period immediately before the start date of your EI period; or
  • the period since the start of a previous EI benefit period, if that benefit period started during the last 52 weeks.

To be eligible for EI maternity benefits, you must have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment in your qualifying period. If you are a self-employed fisher, you must have earned $3,760 from fishing during the 31-week qualifying period immediately before the start of your benefit period.

To be eligible for EI parental benefits, each parent who applies for benefits must have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment in his or her qualifying period. If you are a self-employed fisher, you must have earned $3,760 from fishing during the 31-week qualifying period immediately before the start of your benefit period.

For more information on EI benefits for self-employed fishers, consult the guide called Employment Insurance Benefits for Fishers.

Note

If you made a false statement or misrepresentation on a previous EI claim, you may be required to accumulate more hours of insurable employment or earnings to qualify for benefits in the future. The increase in the number of hours or earnings you will need depends on the number and seriousness of misrepresentations that have been recorded in the five-year period before the start of your claim. For more information on mistakes and misrepresentations, see the section “Protecting Employment Insurance- with your help”.

Applying for EI maternity or parental benefits

Do I need to apply to receive EI maternity or parental benefits

Yes. You need to apply for EI benefits, since Service Canada first needs to determine whether you are entitled to receive them. Benefits are not paid to you automatically, even if you have received a Record of Employment (ROE) from your employer.

When should I apply

You should apply as soon as possible after you stop working, even if your employer has not issued your ROE yet. If you delay applying for benefits later than four weeks after your last day of work, you risk losing benefits.

Applying for EI maternity benefits

You can apply for EI maternity benefits before you give birth. In fact, you can start receiving benefits as early as 12 weeks before your due date or before the actual week you give birth.

You cannot receive EI maternity benefits more than 17 weeks after the week you were expected to give birth or the week you actually gave birth, whichever is later. When the actual date of birth is different from the expected date of birth, you must let us know the child's actual date of birth as soon as possible by calling 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742) or by visiting a Service Canada Centre.

The date you submit your application is very important, since it affects the number of weeks of maternity benefits you are entitled to receive. If you have difficulty determining which maternity benefit period works best for you, call us at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742).

Note

If your newborn is hospitalized, the 17-week timeframe can be extended by the number of weeks your child is in the hospital, up to 52 weeks after the date of birth. You could receive 15 weeks of benefits, but the payments may be suspended until your child leaves the hospital. If you received maternity benefits before your child's birth and you want to receive the remaining benefits after the child comes home, contact us.

Applying for EI parental benefits

For biological or legally recognized parents, EI parental benefits can be paid starting from the child's date of birth. For adoptive parents, parental benefits can be paid starting from the date the child is placed with them for the purpose of adoption. In cases where the child is not legally adoptable, parental benefits could be payable from the date you attest that you consider the placement a permanent one.

When applying, you will have to select under which option you choose to claim EI parental benefits: standard or extended.

Standard parental benefits can be paid within a 52 week-period after the week the child is born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The benefits are paid for a maximum of 35 weeks at a weekly benefit rate of 55% of your average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum amount.

Extended parental benefits can be paid within a 78-week period after the week the child is born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The benefits are paid for a maximum of 61 weeks at a weekly benefit rate of 33% of your average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum amount.
Note
  • If your newborn or newly adopted child is hospitalized, the 52-week or 78-week timeframe can be extended by the number of weeks your child is in the hospital.
  • The parents of a newborn or newly adopted child who is hospitalized for an extended period may decide to wait until their child leaves the hospital before they apply for parental benefits. For information about options available to you in your specific situation, call 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742).

Can both parents apply for EI parental benefits

Yes, but they have to share the benefits. Furthermore, both parents are required to choose the same parental benefit option, either standard or extended. The option chosen by the first claimant who completes the EI application will be considered as the option chosen by the second claimant. The choice is final once parental benefits have been paid on a claim. This means that you cannot change between standard and extended once parental benefits have been paid.

Standard parental benefits:

In total, there are 35 weeks of standard parental benefits available to eligible parents of a newborn or newly adopted child.

There are many ways you can decide to use your standard parental benefits. For instance, one of the parents can take the entire 35 weeks of standard parental benefits, or both parents can share them.

Examples
  • If the biological mother wants to return to work after her maternity leave, the other parent can then take the 35 weeks of standard parental benefits.
  • If one parent decides to take only 10 weeks of standard parental benefits before returning to work, the other parent can use the remaining 25 weeks of standard parental benefits.
  • If one parent decides to return to work after taking a few weeks of standard parental benefits, but then realizes a few weeks later that he or she would prefer to stay home with the child, he or she is still entitled to the unused weeks of standard parental benefits, as long as the 52-week period after the birth or adoption placement has not expired.
Extended parental benefits:

In total, there are 61 weeks of extended parental benefits available to eligible parents of a newborn or newly adopted child.

There are many ways you can decide to use your extended parental benefits. For instance, one of the parents can take the entire 61 weeks of extended parental benefits, or both parents can share them.

Examples
  • If the biological mother wants to return to work after her maternity leave, the other parent can then take the 61 weeks of extended parental benefits.
  • If one parent decides to take only 20 weeks of extended parental benefits before returning to work, the other parent can use the remaining 41 weeks of extended parental benefits.
  • If one parent decides to return to work after taking a few weeks of extended parental benefits, but then realizes a few weeks later that he or she would prefer to stay home with the child, he or she is still entitled to the unused weeks of extended parental benefits, as long as the 78-week period after the birth or adoption placement has not expired.

How do I apply

To find out if you are eligible to receive EI benefits, you must submit an application online. It will take about 60 minutes to complete the online application.

The website takes you step by step through the application process, and provides detailed instructions on how to complete the form.

What information do I need to apply

To complete the online EI application, you will need the following personal information:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)—if your SIN begins with a 9, you will need to provide proof of your immigration status and work permit;
  • your mother's maiden name;
  • your mailing and residential addresses, including the postal codes—if you do not have a usual place of residence, you must apply in person at your local Service Canada Centre; and
  • your complete banking information, including the financial institution name and number, the branch number, and your account number, if you want to sign up for direct deposit.

When you apply for EI maternity benefits, you must also provide the expected or actual date of birth.

When you apply for EI parental benefits, you must provide:

  • the date of birth of your newborn or, in the case of an adoption, the date on which your child was placed with you (you must also provide the full name and address of the agency handling the adoption); and
  • the SIN of the other parent, if you plan to share the benefits.

You will also need the following employment information if you are or were an employee:

  • the names and addresses of all employers you worked for in the last 52 weeks, as well as the dates of employment and the reasons for separation from these employers;
  • your detailed version of the facts, if you quit or were dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks; and
  • the dates (Sunday to Saturday) and earnings for each of your highest paid weeks of insurable earnings in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is the shorter period. This information will be used, along with your Record(s) of Employment, to calculate your weekly EI benefit rate.

For more information, see the publication called How to Apply for Employment Insurance Benefits.

Receiving your EI maternity and parental benefits

When will I know if I am eligible to receive EI maternity or parental benefits

If you are eligible to receive EI benefits, you should receive your first payment within 28 days of the date we receive your application and all required documents.

If you are not eligible to receive EI benefits, we will notify you by letter or by telephone to explain why. If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to request a reconsideration.

You can get more information on the status of your application by registering for My Service Canada Account on our website.

What is the one-week waiting period

Before you can start receiving EI benefits, there is a one-week waiting period during which you will not be paid. This waiting period is like the deductible you pay for other types of insurance.

You usually serve the waiting period at the beginning of your benefit period, unless you receive earnings during the first week. In that case, the waiting period will start during the first week you should begin to receive benefits.

When EI parental benefits are shared, a single waiting period may apply. For example, if the waiting period has already been served for EI maternity benefits, then neither parent has to serve a waiting period if one or the other submits an application for EI parental benefits.

At the end of parental leave, the parent who did not serve a waiting period might have to serve one, if that parent then applies for another type of EI benefit.

If you already received EI benefits during the last 52 weeks and you have reactivated your claim and already served the one-week waiting period, you will not have to serve an additional waiting period.

If I am eligible to receive EI maternity or parental benefits, how much can I expect to receive

We cannot tell you exactly how much you will receive before we process your application.

The basic rate for calculating EI maternity benefits is 55% of your average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum amount. As of January 1, 2018, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $51,700. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $547 per week.

The basic rate for calculating EI parental benefits depends on the option you choose:

Standard parental benefits are paid at a weekly benefit rate of 55% of your average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum amount. For 2018, this means that you can receive a maximum amount of $547 per week for up to 35 weeks.

Extended parental benefits are paid at a weekly benefit rate of 33% of your average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum amount. For 2018, this means that you can receive a maximum amount of $328 per week for up to 61 weeks. (The amount of $328 can be increased if you are eligible to receive the Family Supplement.)

Note: The amount of weekly benefits are reviewed each year.

Can I receive EI maternity or parental benefits if I am authorized to work in Canada

You can access EI maternity or parental benefits if you are authorized to work in Canada and your Social Insurance Number (SIN) has not expired.

Is the benefit rate higher for low-income family members

Yes. If we determine that your net family income is $25,921 or less per year, that you have children, and that you or your spouse receives the Canada Child Tax Benefit, you are considered a member of a low-income family. You may be eligible to receive the EI Family Supplement. It would be applied automatically by Service Canada. No action is required from you.

The amount of EI Family Supplement you receive depends on:

  • your net family income (up to the $25,921 yearly maximum); and
  • the number of children in your family, and their ages.

The Family Supplement may increase your benefit rate to as high as 80% of your average insurable earnings. If you and your spouse claim EI benefits at the same time, only one of you can receive the Family Supplement. It is usually better for the spouse with the lower benefit rate to receive the Family Supplement.

If your income level rises, the Family Supplement gradually decreases. You are no longer eligible to receive the Family Supplement when your net family income is greater than $25,921.

Note

  • These amounts are reviewed each year. For the most recent amounts, visit Employment Insurance and the family supplement page.
  • The Family Supplement is automatically added to eligible claims.
  • The Family Supplement cannot increase your total benefits to more than the maximum weekly amount of $547.

Do I pay income tax on EI benefits

Yes, your EI benefits are taxable. This means that federal and provincial or territorial taxes will be deducted from your benefits.

How long will I receive EI maternity or parental benefits

EI maternity benefits can be paid for a maximum of 15 weeks. You cannot receive EI maternity benefits beyond 17 weeks after the expected or actual week of childbirth, whichever of the two is later.

EI standard parental benefits can be paid for a maximum of 35 weeks. The payments must be made within 52 weeks (12 months) of the week your child was born or the week your child was placed with you for the purpose of adoption.

EI extended parental benefits can be paid for a maximum of 61 weeks. The payments must be made within 78 weeks (18 months) of the week your child was born or the week your child was placed with you for the purpose of adoption.

The eligibility period for EI parental benefits can be extended for members of military families

The Government of Canada introduced a new measure in July 2010 to extend the eligibility period for EI parental benefits, up to a maximum of 104 weeks.

This extension is available to Canadian Forces members who are prevented from collecting:

  • all their standard parental benefits during the regular 52-week eligibility period; or
  • all their extended parental benefits during the regular 78-week eligibility period;

because their parental leave has been deferred or interrupted by an imperative military requirement.

The regular eligibility period starts during the week of birth for a newborn or the week a child is placed with you for the purpose of adoption and continues for the following 52 weeks for standard parental benefits or 78 weeks for extended parental benefits.

Does receiving my EI benefit statement mean my application is approved

Shortly after you file your EI application, we will mail you an EI benefit statement. Receiving the EI benefit statement does not mean that your application has been approved. This statement simply provides you with your EI access code and instructions on how to complete your EI reports.

Important information about your EI access code

Your EI access code is the four-digit code printed in the shaded area of your EI benefit statement. You need to have it with you whenever you want to obtain information about your benefit claim and when you submit your EI reports. Your access code is used to identify you and ensure the confidentiality of the information you provide.

Do not share your access code with anyone, since you will be held responsible if someone accesses your information or modifies your claim without your knowledge. Always store it in a safe place and, for added protection, be sure to store it separately from your Social Insurance Number.

If you received a temporary access code, you will need to change it. You can also change your current access code for security reasons. Simply call the EI Telephone Information Service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742). Choose "1" and follow the instructions to change your access code.

If you lose your access code, please call the EI Telephone Information Service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Choose "0" to speak to an agent. You can also visit a Service Canada Centre. In either case, we will ask you questions to verify your identity before we issue you a new access code.

Do I have to submit EI reports to receive maternity or parental benefits

You do not have to submit EI reports while you are receiving maternity and parental benefits, unless you are working. In that case, you must let us know by contacting the Service Canada Centre in your area. You will then have to complete EI reports.

For more information on filing EI reports, see the Internet Reporting Service page.

How will I receive my benefits

There are two ways to receive your EI benefits:

  • we can deposit them directly into your bank account; or
  • we can mail them to you.

Receiving benefits by direct deposit

Direct deposit ensures that you will get your payment as quickly as possible and is reliable, convenient, and easy to set up. When you use direct deposit, your EI payments are deposited automatically into your bank account.

You can sign up for direct deposit when you apply for EI. You can also sign up for direct deposit online, by phone, in person, or by mail.

Note: You need to let us know if you change your bank account information or if you move.

Receiving benefits by mail

If you do not register for direct deposit, we will mail your payments to you.

When do my EI benefits stop

You will stop receiving EI benefits in any of the following cases, whichever comes first:

  • you have received all the weeks of benefits to which you were entitled; or
  • the maximum benefit period has been reached
    • 52 weeks for maternity and standard parental benefits,
    • 78 weeks for maternity and extended parental benefits; or
  • the payment timeframe during which you can receive benefits has ended, as follows:
    • EI maternity benefits must end 17 weeks after the week you were expected to give birth or the week you actually give birth, whichever is later;
    • EI standard parental benefits must end 52 weeks after the week your child was born or was placed with you for the purpose of adoption; or
    • EI extended parental benefits must end 78 weeks after the week your child was born or was placed with you for the purpose of adoption.

What will happen if I work or receive other payments during my benefit period

When you work

  • If you work while receiving EI maternity benefits, we will deduct the entire amount you earn dollar for dollar from your benefits.
  • Normally if you work while receiving EI parental benefits, you can earn up to $50 per week or 25% of your weekly benefit, whichever is higher. We will deduct any money earned above that amount dollar for dollar from your benefits.

However, until August 11, 2018, a Working While on Claim pilot project is in place which changes the way your weekly EI parental benefits are treated should you work.

Under this pilot project, once you have served the waiting period, claimants are able to keep 50 cents of their benefits for every dollar they earn while on claim, up to 90 per cent of the weekly insurable earnings used to calculate the EI benefit amount.

When you work and receive benefits at the same time, you must not combine the hours and earnings of more than one week. It is essential that you report your work earnings and hours for the week you worked.

If you notice that you made an error on your report (for example, if you forgot to report some work hours or you did not report them in the right week), tell us immediately so that we can make the necessary corrections.

When you receive other payments

The following types of income will be deducted from your EI maternity and parental benefits:

  • other income from employment (including self-employment), such as commissions;
  • payments received as compensation for a work accident or an occupational illness, such as compensation for lost wages;
  • payments received under a group health insurance plan or a group wage loss replacement plan;
  • certain payments received under an accident insurance plan to replace lost wages;
  • retirement income from a retirement plan, a military or police pension, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, or provincial employment-based plans; and
  • allowances, amounts, or other benefits paid under provincial legislation, such as benefits under the Quebec Parental Insurance Program.

Other types of income have no impact on your EI maternity and parental benefits, including:

  • disability benefits;
  • survivor or dependent benefits;
  • workers' compensation benefits paid under specific regulations;
  • additional insurance benefits paid under a private plan approved by Service Canada (for example, payments for pain and suffering or medical expenses that you receive from an insurance company after you have been injured in a car accident);
  • additional maternity/parental benefits paid by your employer from a supplemental unemployment benefit plan (as long as the income, benefits, and additional amounts combined do not exceed 100% of your weekly earnings);
  • sickness or disability payments received under a private wage loss replacement plan; and
  • retroactive salary increases.

Note: You are responsible for reporting all monies paid or payable to you, cash or other, while receiving EI maternity or parental benefits.

When you receive money during the waiting period

Any amounts you receive that are allocated to the one-week waiting period, including vacation pay or severance pay, will be deducted dollar for dollar from the first three weeks of benefits that you are entitled to receive.

Can I receive EI maternity or parental benefits and other types of EI benefits in the same benefit period

Yes, you can receive up to 50 weeks of benefits in a 52-week benefit period. However, when maternity or parental benefits are combined with other types of special benefits (sickness, compassionate care or family caregiver), the maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid may increase to 102 weeks. Please note that you must meet the eligibility criteria specific to each type of benefits you claim.

If you receive EI regular benefits combined with EI special benefits, the maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid is normally 50 weeks during a benefit period of 52 weeks. The only exception is when EI regular benefits and extended parental benefits are paid during the 52-week period. As extended parental benefits are paid at a benefit rate of 33% of your average weekly insurable earnings, once 50 weeks of benefits have been paid, the weeks of extended parental benefits will be converted to an equivalent number of weeks that would have been paid at the 55% benefit rate. This conversion will determine how many more weeks of regular benefits and special benefits can be paid to reach the equivalent of 50 weeks paid at the 55% benefits rate. Any weeks where you return to work during this period will be considered weeks paid for the purposes of calculating the equivalent of 50 weeks paid at the 55% benefit rate. Once the number of additional weeks that can be paid is determined, the 52-week benefit period will be extended to allow for the additional weeks to be paid.

Example: A claimant becomes ills and receives 10 weeks of sickness benefits. He then applies for extended parental benefits and receives 15 weeks. The claimant is laid off from his employment and applies for regular benefits. After proving his availability for work, the claimant is paid up to 25 weeks of regular benefits. At this time 50 weeks of benefits have been paid to the claimant, therefore a conversion calculation is required to determine how many more weeks he can receive before reaching the equivalent of 50 weeks paid at the 55% benefit rate. The 15 weeks of extended parental benefits paid at the 33% benefit rate are converted to 9 weeks of benefits at the 55% benefit rate. In total, 10 weeks of sickness benefits, 25 weeks of regular benefits and the equivalent of 9 weeks of standard parental benefits have been paid at the 55% benefit rate, for a total of 44 weeks. There are 6 more weeks that may be paid on the claim, before reaching the equivalent of 50 weeks paid at the 55% benefit rate.

Am I allowed to leave Canada while receiving EI maternity or parental benefits

Yes, you can receive EI maternity and parental benefits while you are outside Canada. However, if you leave the country, please let us know by calling 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742) and pressing "0" to speak with a representative.

Note: Different provisions may apply to Quebec residents who receive Quebec Parental Insurance Program benefits.

Where can I get more information about my EI claim

To get more information about your EI claim, you can visit our website or call us.

Online

To get information about your claim online, you first need to register with My Service Canada Account on our website.

By telephone

You can also get information about your benefit claim by using the EI Telephone Information Service. Call 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742) and choose option "1." Be sure to have your Social Insurance Number and your EI access code on hand when you call.

Protecting Employment Insurance—with your help

Service Canada works to protect the EI program from misuse. One of the ways we do this is by working with employers and claimants to ensure the accuracy of the information we receive. With your help, we can reduce the amount of misuse and ensure that the EI program is used as it should be—as a program that provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who qualify.

What is a mistake

A mistake is an unintentional act. We know claimants can make mistakes when filing their reports. Common mistakes include:

  • estimating weekly earnings instead of putting in the actual amount earned;
  • forgetting to declare all the earnings received;
  • writing or entering the wrong number when reporting earnings; or
  • adding the number of hours or amount of earnings incorrectly.

Some mistakes can delay benefit payments, while others can affect the amount of benefits you receive—meaning you are paid more or less than you are entitled to receive.

For example, estimating your earnings can have the following effects:

  • If you estimated your earnings for one week and your estimate was higher than the earnings you actually received, your benefit amount will be less than it should have been. If this happens, let us know and we will adjust your file to make sure you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.
  • If you estimated your earnings for one week and your estimate was lower than the earnings you actually received, your benefit amount will be higher than it should have been. Let us know if this happens. You will have to repay the excess amount, but we will ensure that repaying it causes no undue hardship. As well, we will adjust your file to reflect your accurate information.

If you notice a mistake on a completed form or report, or if there is a change in your circumstances that could affect your EI claim, tell Service Canada immediately. This will help prevent any future problems with your claim.

Absence from Canada

Although you can receive EI maternity and parental benefits while you are outside Canada, you usually cannot be outside Canada while you are receiving other types of EI benefits.

One measure we take to enforce this rule is to compare EI information with information from the Canada Border Services Agency. If we find you have been out of the country while collecting benefits, we will determine whether you were entitled to receive those benefits. If you were not entitled to receive them, we will calculate how much we overpaid you, and you will then have to repay the benefits.

We may also impose penalties of up to three times your weekly benefit rate or three times the amount of your overpayment. As well, you may have to work more hours or, in the case of self-employment in fishing, you may need more insurable earnings to qualify for benefits in the future.

Misrepresentation

If you knowingly withhold information, make misleading statements, or misrepresent the facts to make a false claim for benefits, this is considered misrepresentation. You could face severe monetary penalties or prosecution. This could also affect your future benefits. However, if you disclose your actions to Service Canada before an investigation begins, we may waive any monetary penalties and prosecutions that might otherwise apply.

Consequences of misrepresentation: Interest and penalties

Interest on debt

When EI claimants receive benefits to which they are not entitled, the amount of the overpayment counts as a debt that must be repaid.

Service Canada charges interest on this debt when it results from claimants who knowingly omit information or make false or misleading representations or statements. However, we do not charge interest on debt that results when Service Canada makes an error in the benefit payment.

The rate of interest is the Bank of Canada average rate plus 3%. Interest is calculated daily and compounded monthly.

Penalties

A penalty may be imposed on a claimant, an employer, or an individual acting on their behalf in relation to a claim for benefits when he or she has:

  • knowingly made false or misleading representations or statements; or
  • completed a statement without declaring essential information.

There are many situations when a penalty may apply, and the amount could become very high. Depending on the circumstances, the maximum penalty could be up to three times the amount of the overpayment, three times the weekly benefit rate for each incident of misrepresentation, or three times the maximum benefit rate.

Violations

Deliberate misuse of the EI program can result in a violation. With a violation, claimants may need more insurable earnings or hours to qualify for benefits in the future. The required amount rises based on the number and seriousness of misrepresentations that have been recorded in the five-year period before the start of their claims.

Rights and responsibilities

What are my rights

As a claimant of EI benefits, you have rights and responsibilities.

Your right to request a reconsideration of a decision

If you disagree with the decision regarding your application for EI benefits, you have the right to request a reconsideration.

Can my employer contest a decision concerning my EI benefits application

Yes. If we decide to pay you benefits even if you quit, were fired for misconduct, refused work, or are involved in a labour dispute, we will notify your employer. If an employer believes that our decision is not justified, he or she can request a reconsideration of that decision.

What are Service Canada's responsibilities

At Service Canada, we are responsible for:

  • giving you prompt and courteous service;
  • advising you of the programs and services that are available to you;
  • serving you in the official language of your choice;
  • determining if you are eligible to receive benefits—that is, whether or not you meet the qualifying conditions specified in the Employment Insurance Act and Regulations—and determining how many weeks of benefits you can receive;
  • processing all claims within the same timeframe;
  • issuing your first payment no later than 28 days after the date we receive your application, if you have provided us with all the required information and if you are eligible for benefits;
  • giving you accurate information about your claim, including how you can share parental benefits with your EI-eligible spouse or partner and compassionate care benefits with other EI-eligible family members, and whether or not you will need to serve a one-week waiting period; and
  • letting you know about decisions we've made about your claim and explaining the process to follow if you disagree with a decision.

What are my responsibilities

When you apply for EI maternity or parental EI benefits, you must:

  • provide all required information and documents;
  • provide our office with your child's actual date of birth;
  • in the case of an adoption, provide the date of the child's placement with you, the name and address of the adoption authority;
  • elect under which option you wish to claim parental benefits (standard or extended);
  • report if you stop providing care for your child;
  • report all employment, whether you work for someone else or for yourself;
  • accurately report all employment earnings before deductions in the week(s) in which they were earned, as well as any other monies you may receive.

For more information on rights and responsibilities, see Employment Insurance – Rights and Responsibilities.

The Quebec Parental Insurance Program

Since 2006, the Province of Quebec has been responsible for providing maternity, paternity, parental, and adoption benefits to residents of Quebec through a program called the Quebec Parental Insurance Program. This program is offered by Quebec's Ministry of Employment and Social Solidarity.

Applying for benefits

If you live in Quebec and would like to submit an application for benefits following a birth or an adoption, you can:

Sharing parental benefits

The Quebec Parental Insurance Program and the EI program allow parents to share parental benefits. In most cases, the two parents will receive benefits under the same program, either the Quebec Parental Insurance Program or the EI program.

Parents who would like to share their benefits must decide how they will share them when the first parent applies for parental or adoption benefits. If applying to the Quebec Parental Insurance Program, the applicant must contact the Quebec Ministry of Employment and Social Solidarity. If applying outside Quebec, the applicant must contact Service Canada.

If the parents cannot decide how they want to share the benefits when they submit their application, they must contact the Quebec Ministry of Employment and Social Solidarity if they live in Quebec or Service Canada if they live elsewhere in Canada. A formula has been established and approved by the governments of Quebec and Canada to allow parents to share benefit weeks.

Place of residence, place of work, and mobility

Where you reside, not where you work, determines which program applies to your situation. If you work in Quebec but live in another province, you cannot receive Quebec Parental Insurance Program benefits—you must apply for EI benefits. If you live in Quebec but work in another province, you will receive Quebec Parental Insurance Program benefits.

If you move to Quebec while receiving EI maternity or parental benefits, you will continue to receive EI benefits. If you move away from Quebec while receiving Quebec Parental Insurance Program benefits, you will continue to receive Quebec Parental Insurance Program benefits.

Combining Quebec Parental Insurance Program benefits and EI benefits

Depending on your situation, you could be eligible for EI benefits—for example, regular, sickness, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits—for weeks during which you do not receive Quebec Parental Insurance Program benefits.

Benefits paid under the Quebec Parental Insurance Program may extend the EI benefit period, allowing people to receive the maximum number of weeks of EI sickness, compassionate care and/or family caregiver benefits. We take into account each week of benefits paid under the Quebec Parental Insurance Program to calculate the number of weeks of EI benefits to which these people might be entitled.

For more information, contact Service Canada.

Benefits and income tax

Like EI benefits, Quebec Parental Insurance Program benefits are taxable. To learn more about income tax and Quebec Parental Insurance Program benefits, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website or the Revenu Québec website.

Co-operation between the two governments

To ensure that the two benefit programs operate smoothly and to prevent abuse, the governments of Quebec and Canada have agreed to share information about the two programs, including Records of Employment, applications for benefits, and Social Insurance Numbers. This agreement is in compliance with the Privacy Act.

Contacts and other useful information

EI Telephone Information Service

The EI Telephone Information Service is an automated telephone service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you would prefer to speak to a representative, call this number between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, and press "0." You can get general information about the EI program, the Social Insurance Number (SIN), and your specific EI claim.

Information about your claim is updated every morning from Monday to Friday. To access information about your EI claim, you will need your SIN and access code, which you will find on the benefit statement that is mailed to you after you apply for EI benefits.

EI Telephone Information Service: 1-800-206-7218

If you have a hearing or speech impairment and use a teletypewriter, TTY: 1-800-529-3742.

My Service Canada Account

My Service Canada Account allows you to view and update your EI information in one place using a secure website. With My Service Canada Account, you can:

  • confirm any decision made about your EI application
  • see details on your payments and deductions
  • sign up for direct deposit
  • view and update your personal information, including your mailing address, telephone number, and banking information for direct deposit
  • view your EI tax information slips;
  • view all Records of Employment that your employers have submitted electronically in the last two years
  • view and print your Canada Pension Plan Statement of Contributions and benefit estimate
  • register to access EI special benefits for self-employed people

How can I register for My Service Canada Account

Before you register, you must have your four-digit EI access code (printed in the shaded area at the bottom of your benefit statement). You can then register for My Service Canada Account. It will take about 10 minutes to complete the registration process.

For more information

For more information about EI maternity and parental benefits:

Service Canada has produced a series of EI-related videos. To watch them, visit our website.

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