EI fishing benefits - After you've applied


Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, there are changes to this program.

Changes to support you during COVID-19

Temporary changes have been made to the EI program to help you access EI fishing benefits. The following changes are in effect until September 25, 2021, and could apply to you:

  • the waiting period may be waived
  • a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada
  • you only need $2,500 in earnings to qualify for regular fishing or special benefits
  • we'll establish your claim using the highest earnings from either your current claim or the earnings from 1 of your last 2 fishing claims for the same season, even if you didn't fish this year
  • you'll receive at least $500 per week before taxes but you could receive more

If you were notified that you don't have enough earnings to receive benefits, contact us to request a review of your claim considering these temporary changes.

Sections on this page impacted by these temporary changes are flagged as Temporary COVID-19 relief.

6. After you've applied

If you are entitled to receive EI fishing benefits, you will usually receive your first payment within 28 days of the date we receive your application. If you do not qualify to receive EI fishing benefits, we will notify you by letter or by telephone and explain why.

Before you can start receiving EI fishing benefits, you have to serve a one-week period for which you will not receive benefits. This is called the waiting period. The waiting period is like the deductible you have to pay for other types of insurance. Temporary COVID-19 relief

Any money you earn during the one-week waiting period will be deducted from your benefit payment during the first 3 weeks for which benefits are paid. Once these 3 weeks have passed, the waiting period has no further effect on your benefits.

To receive your payment, you must complete an EI report (online or by telephone) every 2 weeks. You cannot receive your payment unless you complete these reports.

Once we receive your application for benefits, we will send you a benefit statement in the mail. The statement includes your access code (4-digit number), which is printed in the shaded area at the top of the benefit statement.

Access code

Your access code is the 4-digit number printed in the shaded area of the benefit statement. You need to have it with you whenever you want to obtain information about your benefit claim and when you submit your reports.

The access code identifies you and ensures that your privacy is protected. Do not let others have it because they could get information or take action on your claim without your knowledge. You would be held responsible. Keep your access code in a safe place and, for extra security, keep it stored separately from your Social Insurance Number.

If you have been given a temporary access code, you will need to change it to a new confidential access code. You may also choose to change your existing access code for security reasons. To do this, call our 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, call our 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 to speak to an agent. You can also go to your local Service Canada Centre.

Whether you are changing your access code or reporting a lost one, you will be asked questions to verify your identity. We will then issue you a new access code number.

To find out more about the fishing benefit, please read the Guide to EI fishing benefits, contact your nearest Service Canada office or call our EI Telephone Information Service at 1-800-206-7218 for service in English; 1-800-808-6352 for service in French (TTY: 1-800-529-3742).

How to appeal a decision

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

The rules on eligibility for EI benefits are complex. Service Canada always tries to interpret them fairly, but you might not agree with a decision. If you disagree with one of our decisions, you may want to talk about it with a Service Canada agent. You will be able to provide any new information you may have and clarify any issues surrounding the decision.

If you do not agree with the decision following the reconsideration, you can appeal by completing the Notice of Appeal form and mailing it to the Social Security Tribunal. It is important to complete the full form or you can write a letter of appeal and include all the information that is required on the form. You must do this within 30 days of receiving the reconsidered decision. Do not forget to include your Social Insurance Number on any additional documents you supply.

Your employer can contest a decision concerning your EI benefits application

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