EI maternity and parental benefits: Apply

From: Employment and Social Development Canada


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 maternity and parental benefits. The following changes are in effect until September 25, 2021, and could apply to you:

  • the waiting period may be waived
  • you only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you'll get a one-time credit of 480 insured hours to help you meet the required 600 insured hours of work
  • for maternity and standard parental benefits, you'll receive at least $500 per week before taxes but you could receive more
    • for extended parental benefits, you'll receive at least $300 per week before taxes but you could receive more
  • if you received the CERB, the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended

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

Apply as soon as possible after you stop working. If you wait more than 4 weeks after your last day of work to apply, you may lose benefits.

To complete your application:

Service Canada collects personal information you put in an EI benefit application to decide if you qualify for EI benefits. By starting this application, you consent to the terms of the privacy notice statement. Please read the privacy notice.

If you're already familiar with the program:

Ready to start?

Choose benefits

Maternity benefits

You can start receiving maternity benefits as early as 12 weeks before your due date or the date you give birth. You cannot receive these benefits more than 17 weeks after your due date or the date you gave birth, whichever is later. A maximum of 15 weeks of benefits is available.

When you apply for maternity benefits, you can also apply for parental benefits. This will save you time later.

Parental benefits

You can start receiving parental benefits the week your child is born or placed with you for the purpose of adoption.

When applying for parental benefits, you need to choose between 2 options:

  1. Standard parental (up to 35 weeks, up to $595 a week)
  2. Extended parental (up to 61 weeks, up to $357 a week)

If you applied for parental benefits at the same time as maternity benefits, you don't need to apply again.

Once you start receiving parental benefits, you cannot change options.

Sharing parental benefits

If sharing benefits, each parent must choose the same option, standard or extended. Each parent must submit their own application. If parents do not choose the same option, the choice on the first application received is used to determine the parental benefit option for all parents.

When sharing, the maximum number of weeks available increases to:

  • 40 weeks for standard parental
  • 69 weeks for extended parental

One parent cannot receive more than 35 weeks of standard or 61 weeks of extended parental benefits. The remaining 5 weeks of standard or 8 weeks of extended parental benefits are available on a use-it-or-lose-it basis: if taken, they can only be taken by the other parent(s).

Parents can receive their weeks of benefits at the same time or one after another.


Maternity plus standard parental benefits

Julie and David are having a baby. Julie takes the full 15 weeks of maternity benefits she is entitled to. She and David each decide to take 20 weeks of standard parental benefits at the same time to care for their child.

Extended parental benefits

Sami and Alex are adopting a child. Sami decides to take 39 weeks of extended parental benefits. This means Alex can take up to 30 weeks of extended parental benefits to care for their child.

Complete the online application

Make sure you have the following information to complete your application:

  • the names and addresses of your employers in the last 52 weeks
  • the dates you were employed with each employer and the reasons you're no longer employed with them
  • your detailed explanation of the facts if you quit or were dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks
  • your full mailing address and your home address, if they are different
  • your social insurance number (SIN)
  • the SIN of any other parent if you plan to share benefits
  • the last name at birth of one of your parents
  • the expected or actual date of birth of your child
  • the date your child was placed with you for the purpose of adoption and the full name and address of the agency handling the adoption
  • your banking information to sign up for direct deposit, including:
    • your financial institution
    • your branch (transit) number
    • your account number

The online application takes about 1 hour to complete. Your information is saved for 72 hours (3 days) from the time you start. If you don't complete the application, you can come back to it later using a temporary password that you receive when you start your application.

If you don't complete the application within 72 hours:

  • it will be deleted, and
  • you'll have to start a new application

Ready to start?

Provide additional information

Record of employment

Employers issue a record of employment (ROE) to provide information on your work history. Service Canada uses the information to determine:

  • whether you're eligible to receive Employment Insurance (EI) benefits
  • how much you'll receive

You can visit My Service Canada Account (MSCA) to view ROEs that past and current employers have issued to you.

Electronic ROEs

Electronic ROEs are sent directly to Service Canada by your employer. You don't need to request or provide copies to Service Canada.

Paper ROEs

If your employer issues paper ROEs, you must request copies of all ROEs issued to you in the past 52 weeks. You'll need to provide them to Service Canada as soon as possible after you submit your EI application. You can mail them or drop them off at a Service Canada Centre.

Provide the date of birth

When your child's date of birth is different from the expected date of birth on your application, you must let us know the actual date of birth as soon as possible. You can:

A benefit statement and access code will arrive by mail

Once your application is complete, Service Canada will mail you a benefit statement. This statement will include a 4-digit access code. You need this code and your SIN to inquire about your application. Receiving the EI benefit statement doesn't mean that Service Canada has made a decision about your claim.

Review your application status

To check the progress of your application, you can:

If you're not registered with MSCA, you can create an account when you receive your benefit statement and access code.

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