EI fishing benefits - How much could you receive

COVID-19

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.

3. How much could you receive

We cannot tell you exactly how much you will receive without having processed your application.

Calculation of benefits

To calculate your weekly EI fishing benefit, we consider your total earnings during your qualifying period. The earliest start date of the qualifying period is the week of March 1 for summer fishing or September 1 for winter fishing. Temporary COVID-19 relief

This is how we calculate your weekly benefit:

  1. we calculate your total self-employment earnings from fishing during your qualifying period—the last 31 weeks or from the start date of your last claim for EI benefits (we use the total earnings from the shorter period)
  2. we determine the unemployment rate in your region and select the divisor that applies at that unemployment rate (see Table 1) Temporary COVID-19 relief
  3. we divide your total self-employment earnings from fishing during your qualifying period by the applicable divisor. This gives us your weekly insurable earnings from self-employment in fishing
  4. if you have earnings from employment other than as a self-employed fisher, we calculate your total earnings from the last 26 weeks of that other employment, using only the weeks contained in the fishing qualifying period. We divide this amount by the applicable divisor or by the number of weeks worked, whichever is greater. This gives us your weekly insurable earnings from regular employment Temporary COVID-19 relief
  5. we add the results from Steps 3 and 4 together to find your total weekly insurable earnings
  6. we compare your total weekly insurable earnings with the allowed maximum weekly amount, and we select the lower figure. The maximum weekly amount can vary from year to year and is based on the maximum insurable earnings for the calendar year
  7. we multiply that lower figure by 55% to obtain the amount of your weekly benefit
Table 1 – Divisors used to calculate benefits
Regional rate of unemployment Minimum divisor
6% or less 22
6.1% to 7% 21
7.1% to 8% 20
8.1% to 9% 19
9.1% to 10% 18
10.1% to 11% 17
11.1% to 12% 16
12.1% to 13% 15
13.1% or more 14

Example 1 Temporary COVID-19 relief

In 2021, John earns $9,865 from self-employment in fishing during his qualifying period of 31 weeks. The unemployment rate in his area is 11.5%, which means the divisor is 16. Dividing his fishing earnings of $9,865 by 16 gives him weekly insurable earnings of $616.56. This amount is lower than the maximum weekly amount, which is $1,082 in 2021. His weekly benefit rate is therefore $339 [($9,865 ÷ 16) x 55%].

Example 2

In 2021, John earns $9,865 from self-employment in fishing during his qualifying period of 31 weeks. The unemployment rate in his area is 11.5%, which means the divisor is 16. Dividing his fishing earnings of $9,865 by 16 gives him weekly insurable earnings of $616.56.

However, within the last 26 weeks (which occurred in the 31-week qualifying period), John also works in another job during which he earns $10,000 in 15 weeks. Because these earnings are not from self-employment in fishing, they are called regular earnings. The unemployment rate in his area is 11.5%, which means the divisor is 16. Dividing his regular earnings of $10,000 by 16 gives him weekly insurable earnings of $625.00. We use the divisor of 16 for the regular earnings because it is greater than 15, which is the number of regular weeks of insurable earnings in the last 26 weeks.

We calculate John's total weekly insurable earnings as follows:

  • fishing weekly earnings: $616.56
  • regular weekly earnings: $625.00
  • total weekly earnings: $1,241.56

When the regular earnings are added to the fishing earnings, the total is greater than the maximum weekly amount of $1,082 per week. Since John's insurable earnings cannot exceed the maximum weekly amount for 2021, we use that amount to calculate his benefit rate. John's weekly benefit rate is therefore $595 [($56,300 ÷ 52 weeks) x 55%].

Note

The maximum weekly amount is based on the yearly maximum insurable earnings amount. In 2021, the yearly maximum insurable earnings amount is $56,300. The maximum weekly amount for 2021 is calculated by dividing $56,300 by 52 weeks. This means the maximum weekly amount for 2021 is $1,082.

Family supplement

If your net family income does not exceed $25,921 per year, you have children and you or your spouse receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit, you are considered a member of a low-income family. Therefore, you may be eligible to receive the EI family supplement.

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 increases, the family supplement will gradually decrease. If you go over the maximum income of $25,921, you will no longer receive the supplement.

Taxable EI benefits

EI benefits 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.

Benefit duration

If you qualify for fishing benefits, you may receive up to 26 weeks of benefits within a period of 37 or 38 weeks, depending on the day of the week on which April 1 or October 1 falls. This period is called the benefit period.

Benefit period

The benefit period for a winter claim can start as early as the week of April 1 and must end no later than the week of December 15.

The benefit period for a summer claim can start as early as the week of October 1 and must end no later than the week of June 15.

The benefit period can be extended to a maximum of 52 weeks if you are claiming EI special benefits such as sickness benefits. The benefit period is extended by one week for each week of special benefits claimed.
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