EI Maternity and Parental Benefits - While on EI

7. While on EI

If you work while receiving maternity or parental benefits and have served your waiting period, you will be able to keep 50 cents of your EI benefits for every dollar you earn, up to 90 percent of the weekly insurable earnings used to calculate your EI benefit amount. This 90 percent amount is called the earnings threshold. If you earn any money above this threshold, we will deduct it dollar for dollar from your benefits.

For more information, visit the Working While on Claim page.

The following types of income will be deducted from your EI maternity and parental benefits:

  • other income from employment (including self-employment), such as commissions;
  • payments received as compensation for a work accident or an occupational illness, such as compensation for lost wages;
  • payments received under a group health insurance plan or a group wage loss replacement plan;
  • certain payments received under an accident insurance plan to replace lost wages;
  • retirement income from a retirement plan, a military or police pension, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, or provincial employment-based plans; and
  • allowances, amounts, or other benefits paid under provincial legislation, such as benefits under the Quebec Parental Insurance Program.

Other types of income have no impact on your EI maternity and parental benefits, including:

  • disability benefits;
  • survivor or dependent benefits;
  • workers' compensation benefits paid under specific regulations;
  • additional insurance benefits paid under a private plan approved by Service Canada (for example, payments for pain and suffering or medical expenses that you receive from an insurance company after you have been injured in a car accident);
  • additional maternity or parental benefits paid by your employer from a supplemental unemployment benefit plan (as long as the income, benefits, and additional amounts combined do not exceed 100% of your weekly earnings);
  • sickness or disability payments received under a private wage loss replacement plan; and
  • retroactive salary increases.

Note: You are responsible for reporting all monies paid or payable to you, cash or other, while receiving EI maternity or parental benefits.

Protecting Employment Insurance—with your help

Service Canada works to protect the EI program from misuse. One of the ways we do this is by working with employers and claimants to ensure the accuracy of the information we receive. With your help, we can reduce the amount of misuse and ensure that the EI program is used as it should be—as a program that provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who qualify.

What is a mistake

A mistake is an unintentional act. We know claimants can make mistakes when filing their reports. Common mistakes include:

  • estimating weekly earnings instead of putting in the actual amount earned;
  • declaring net earnings instead of gross earnings;
  • forgetting to declare all the earnings received;
  • writing or entering the wrong number when reporting earnings; or
  • adding the number of hours or amount of earnings incorrectly.

Some mistakes can delay benefit payments, while others can affect the amount of benefits you receive—meaning you are paid more or less than you are entitled to receive.

For example, estimating your earnings can have the following effects:

  • If you estimated your earnings for one week and your estimate was higher than the earnings you actually received, your benefit amount will be less than it should have been. If this happens, let us know and we will adjust your file to make sure you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.
  • If you estimated your earnings for one week and your estimate was lower than the earnings you actually received, your benefit amount will be higher than it should have been. Let us know if this happens. You will have to repay the excess amount, but we will ensure that repaying it causes no undue hardship. As well, we will adjust your file to reflect your accurate information.

If you notice a mistake on a completed form or report, or if there is a change in your circumstances that could affect your EI claim, tell Service Canada immediately. This will help prevent any future problems with your claim.

Absence from Canada

Although you can receive EI maternity and parental benefits while you are outside Canada, you usually cannot be outside Canada while you are receiving other types of EI benefits.

One measure we take to enforce this rule is to compare EI information with information from the Canada Border Services Agency. If we find you have been out of the country while collecting benefits, we will determine whether you were entitled to receive those benefits. If you were not entitled to receive them, we will calculate how much we overpaid you, and you will then have to repay the benefits.

We may also impose penalties of up to three times your weekly benefit rate or three times the amount of your overpayment. As well, you may have to work more hours or, in the case of self-employment in fishing, you may need more insurable earnings to qualify for benefits in the future.


If you knowingly withhold information, make misleading statements, or misrepresent the facts to make a false claim for benefits, this is considered misrepresentation. You could face severe monetary penalties or prosecution. This could also affect your future benefits. However, if you disclose your actions to Service Canada before an investigation begins, we may waive any monetary penalties and prosecutions that might otherwise apply.

Consequences of misrepresentation: Interest and penalties

Interest on debt

When EI claimants receive benefits to which they are not entitled, the amount of the overpayment counts as a debt that must be repaid.

Service Canada charges interest on this debt when it results from claimants who knowingly omit information or make false or misleading representations or statements. However, we do not charge interest on debt that results when Service Canada makes an error in the benefit payment.

The rate of interest is the Bank of Canada average rate plus 3%. Interest is calculated daily and compounded monthly.


A penalty may be imposed on a claimant, an employer, or an individual acting on their behalf in relation to a claim for benefits when he or she has:

  • knowingly made false or misleading representations or statements; or
  • completed a statement without declaring essential information.

There are many situations when a penalty may apply, and the amount could become very high. Depending on the circumstances, the maximum penalty could be up to three times the amount of the overpayment, three times the weekly benefit rate for each incident of misrepresentation, or three times the maximum benefit rate.

False or misleading statements

If you knowingly withhold information or make a false or misleading statement, you have committed an act or omission that could result in an overpayment of benefits as well as severe penalties or prosecution. However, if you notify Service Canada of your actions, we can waive monetary penalties or prosecution if we are not already investigating the matter.

Money owing

If you owe any money to the Employment Insurance program, or the Canada Revenue Agency, or if the Department of Justice is garnisheeing your wages for unpaid family support, we may have to deduct money directly from your benefits. To make repayment arrangements, call the number indicated on your overpayment notice.


Deliberate misuse of the EI program can result in a violation. With a violation, claimants may need more insurable earnings or hours to qualify for benefits in the future. The required amount rises based on the number and seriousness of misrepresentations that have been recorded in the five-year period before the start of their claims.

Rights and responsibilities

When you apply for EI maternity or parental EI benefits, you must:

  • provide all required information and documents;
  • provide our office with your child's actual date of birth;
  • in the case of an adoption, provide the date of the child's placement with you, the name and address of the adoption authority;
  • elect under which option you wish to claim parental benefits (standard or extended);
  • report if you stop providing care for your child;
  • report all employment, whether you work for someone else or for yourself;
  • accurately report all employment earnings before deductions in the week(s) in which they were earned, as well as any other monies you may receive.

Service Canada's responsibilities

At Service Canada, we are responsible for:

  • giving you prompt and courteous service;
  • advising you of the programs and services that are available to you;
  • serving you in the official language of your choice;
  • determining if you are eligible to receive benefits—that is, whether or not you meet the qualifying conditions specified in the Employment Insurance Act and Regulations—and determining how many weeks of benefits you can receive;
  • processing all claims within the same timeframe;
  • issuing your first payment no later than 28 days after the date we receive your application, if you have provided us with all the required information and if you are eligible for benefits;
  • giving you accurate information about your claim, including how you can share parental benefits with your EI-eligible spouse or partner and compassionate care or family caregiver benefits with other EI-eligible family members, and whether or not you will need to serve a one-week waiting period; and
  • letting you know about decisions we've made about your claim and explaining the process to follow if you disagree with a decision.

For more information on rights and responsibilities, see the publication called Employment Insurance – Rights and Responsibilities.

Contacts and other useful information

EI Telephone Information Service

The EI Telephone Information Service is an automated telephone service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you would prefer to speak to a representative, call this number between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, and press "0." You can get general information about the EI program, the Social Insurance Number (SIN), and your specific EI claim.

Information about your claim is updated every morning from Monday to Friday. To access information about your EI claim, you will need your SIN and access code, which you will find on the benefit statement that is mailed to you after you apply for EI benefits.

My Service Canada Account

My Service Canada Account allows you to view and update your EI information in one place using a secure website. With My Service Canada Account, you can:

  • confirm any decision made about your EI application
  • see details on your payments and deductions
  • sign up for direct deposit
  • view and update your personal information, including your mailing address, telephone number, and banking information for direct deposit
  • view your EI tax information slips
  • view all Records of Employment that your employers have submitted electronically in the last two years
  • view and print your Canada Pension Plan Statement of Contributions and benefit estimate
  • register to access EI special benefits for self-employed people

How you register for My Service Canada Account

Before you register, you must have your four-digit EI access code (printed in the shaded area at the bottom of your benefit statement). You can then register for My Service Canada Account. It will take about 10 minutes to complete the registration process.

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