Section 4: Specific situations

Can I receive regular benefits and other types of EI benefits (that is, maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits) in the same benefit period?

Yes. You can normally receive up to 50 weeks of regular benefits combined with maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits in the same 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.

It’s important to note that you cannot receive two types of benefits at the same time.

If you are in this situation and want to know more, please visit the Service Canada website, call 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742), or visit your local Service Canada Centre.

What are pilot projects and how can I find out whether I am eligible?

EI pilot projects are designed to assess the effects of possible amendments to the Employment Insurance Act or its Regulations. When you apply for EI benefits and you meet the conditions to benefit from a pilot project in your region, we will inform you or automatically adjust your claim to ensure that you are signed up for the project and that you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled. The pilot projects may result in an increase in your benefit amount or a decrease in the number of hours of insurable employment that you require to qualify for benefits; the projects may also lead to an increase in the number of weeks during which benefits will be paid to you. To find out more about the pilot projects, visit the Service Canada website.

Is it true that the benefit rate is higher for low-income family members?

Yes. If it is determined that your net family income does not exceed $25,921 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, depending on your net family income. It would be applied automatically by Service Canada. No action is required from you.

The Family Supplement rate is based on:

  • your net family income up to a maximum of $25,921 per year; and
  • the number of children in the family and their ages.

The Family Supplement may increase your benefit rate up to 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 generally better for the spouse with the lower benefit rate to receive the supplement.

If your income level rises, the Family Supplement gradually decreases, so that when the maximum income of $25,921 is reached, no supplement is payable.

Note

  • These amounts are reviewed each year. For the most recent amounts, visit the Service Canada website.
  • The Family Supplement is automatically added to eligible claims.

Are EI payments taxable?

EI payments are taxable, no matter what type of benefits you receive. Federal and provincial or territorial taxes, where applicable, will therefore be deducted from your payment.

Can I receive too many benefits and be asked to repay part or all of the amounts received when I do my income tax return?

That depends on your situation.

After filing your income tax return, you may be required to repay some of your EI regular benefits based on:

  • your net income; and
  • the amount of EI benefits that you received.

If your 2018 net income from all sources exceeds $64,625, you will be required to repay 30% of whichever is less:

  • the amount by which your net income exceeds $64,625; or
  • the total regular benefits paid in the tax year.

You do not have to repay your EI benefits, no matter what type you receive, if:

  • your 2018 net income is less than $64,625;
  • you received less than one week of regular benefits in the preceding 10 tax years; or
  • you were paid special benefits (maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits).

However, if you received both special and regular benefits in the same tax year, you may be required to repay a portion of your regular benefits.

If you received regular benefits that overlap two calendar years, you can be exempt from repayment in the first tax year. However, in the second tax year, you cannot qualify for exemption.

You will be informed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) if you have to repay EI benefits. All details will be included on the Notice of Assessment that the CRA will send to you after reviewing your income tax return.

Note
These amounts are reviewed each year. For the most recent amounts, visit the Service Canada website.

Am I allowed to leave Canada while receiving regular benefits?

Usually, you are not eligible to receive regular benefits while you are away from Canada. However, you can receive regular benefits if you show that you are available for work in Canada while abroad and you inform your local Service Canada Centre that you will be away temporarily.

You can be outside Canada for a period of seven consecutive days for the purpose of:

  • attending the funeral of a member of your immediate family or a close relative;
  • accompanying a member of your immediate family to a medical facility, provided that the treatment sought is not readily available in the family member's area of residence in Canada;
  • visiting a member of your immediate family who is seriously ill or injured; or
  • attending a bona fide job interview.

You can be away from Canada for a period of 14 consecutive days for the purpose of conducting a bona fide job search.

If you indicate that you have taken measures to be reached if an employment opportunity presents itself during your absence and that you are able to return to Canada within 48 hours, we will accept that you have proven your availability.

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