EI regular benefits: Overview

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

COVID-19

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

Please read our latest notices:

Changes to support you during COVID-19

As of September 27, 2020, there are some temporary changes to the EI program to help you access EI regular benefits. The following changes will be in effect for 1 year and could apply to you:

  • A minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada starting August 9, 2020
    • If your region’s unemployment rate is higher than 13.1%, we’ll use the higher actual rate to calculate your benefits
    • This means you can receive at least 26 weeks of regular benefits
  • You only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you’ll get a one-time credit of 300 insured hours to help you meet the required 420 insured hours of work
  • You’ll receive at least $500 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.

1. Overview

Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can't find a job.

Always apply for EI benefits as soon as you stop working. You can apply for benefits even if you have not yet received your Record of Employment (ROE). If you delay filing your claim for benefits for more than four weeks after your last day of work, you may lose benefits.

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