EI fishing benefits – Eligibility

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.

2. Eligibility

Your eligibility depends on how much you earned from self-employment in fishing during your qualifying period.

The qualifying period for summer fishing benefits cannot start earlier than the week of March 1. For winter fishing benefits, it cannot start earlier than September 1. The qualifying period also cannot start more than 31 weeks immediately before the start of a benefit period.

If you applied for benefits earlier and your application was approved in the last 31 weeks, the qualifying period is from the start of the previous benefit period to the start of your new benefit period.

The amount you need to earn during your qualifying period varies depending on the unemployment rate in the region where you live. As Table 1 shows, you need to earn a minimum of between $2,500 and $4,200 during your qualifying period to qualify for fishing benefits. Temporary COVID-19 relief

Table 1 – Earnings needed to qualify for EI fishing benefits
Regional rate of unemployment Required earnings
6% or less $4,200
6.1% to 7% $4,000
7.1% to 8% $3,800
8.1% to 9% $3,600
9.1% to 10% $3,400
10.1% to 11% $3,200
11.1% to 12% $2,900
12.1% to 13% $2,700
13.1% or more $2,500

If you've been paid EI benefits in the past and received a written notice for making a false statement or misrepresentation, you may need to earn more from fishing to claim fishing benefits.

Special benefits

Sickness benefits

If you're sick, you may qualify for up to 15 weeks of sickness benefits. To do so, you must earn $3,760 or more from self-employment in fishing during the qualifying period. Temporary COVID-19 relief Sickness benefits are available if you're ill, injured or in quarantine. You must obtain a medical certificate signed by a physician stating how long your incapacity due to illness, injury, or quarantine is expected to last.

Maternity benefits

If you’re away from work because you’re pregnant or recently gave birth, you may be able to receive up to 15 weeks of maternity benefits. To qualify, you must earn $3,760 or more from self-employment in fishing during the qualifying period. Temporary COVID-19 relief

Parental benefits

If you’re a parent who is away from work to care for your newborn or newly adopted child, you may be able to receive parental benefits. To qualify, you must earn $3,760 or more from self-employment in fishing during the qualifying period. Temporary COVID-19 relief There are 2 options available for receiving parental benefits: standard or extended.

    • Up to 40 weeks of standard parental benefits can be paid to parents sharing benefits, but one parent cannot receive more than 35 weeks. If parents share benefits, they must choose the same option.
    • Up to 69 weeks extended parental benefits can be paid to parents sharing benefits, but one parent cannot receive more than 61 weeks. If parents share benefits, they must choose the same option.

Compassionate care benefits

Compassionate care benefits can be paid for up to 26 weeks to fishers who have to be away from work to provide care or support for a gravely ill family member at risk of dying within 52 weeks. Unemployed fishers receiving fishing benefits can also ask for this type of benefit. To qualify for compassionate care benefits, you must have $3,760 or more of insurable earnings from self-employment in fishing in your qualifying period. Temporary COVID-19 relief You must also be able to provide medical proof that your family member has a serious medical condition with a risk of dying within 26 weeks and requires you to provide care for and support to your family member who is seriously ill.

Family caregiver benefits

Family caregiver benefits for children can be paid for up to 35 weeks to family members who must be away from work to provide care or supportFootnote 1 to a critically ill or injured child who is under the age of 18.

Family caregiver benefits for adults can be paid for up to 15 weeks to family members who must be away from work to provide care or supportFootnote 1 to a critically ill or injured family member who is over the age of 18.

To qualify for family caregiver benefits you must have $3,760 or more of insurable earnings from self-employment in fishing in your qualifying period. Temporary COVID-19 relief You must also provide medical proof that the family member is critically ill or injured and requires you to provide care and support.

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