EI regular benefits: How much you could receive
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 Employment Insurance (EI) program to help you access EI regular benefits. The following changes are in effect until September 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
- if your region’s unemployment rate is higher than 13.1%, we’ll use the higher actual rate to calculate your 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
- you’ll be eligible for up to 50 weeks of regular benefits
- if you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (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.
3. How much you could receive
We cannot tell you exactly how much you will receive before we process your application. For most people, the basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of their average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. As of January 1, 2021, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $56,300. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $595 per week.
How long you could receive EI regular benefits
You can receive EI from 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate in your region at the time of filing your claim and the amount of insurable hours you have accumulated in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim, whichever is shorter. Temporary COVID-19 relief
If you’re a seasonal worker, you may be eligible for 5 additional weeks of benefits up to a maximum of 50 weeks.
|Number of hours of insurable employment||Regional Unemployment Rate|
The number of weeks you may receive benefits does not change even if you move to another region after your benefit period begins.
Calculation of benefits
The amount of weekly benefits is calculated as follows:
- We calculate your total insurable earnings for the required number of best weeks (the weeks that you earned the most money, including insurable tips and commissions) based on the information you provide and/or your record(s) of employment
- We determine the divisor (number of best weeks) that corresponds to your regional rate of unemployment Temporary COVID-19 relief
- We divide your total insurable earnings for your best weeks by your required number of best weeks
- We then multiply the result by 55% to obtain the amount of your weekly benefits.
In regions of Canada with the highest rates of unemployment, we will calculate using the best 14 weeks; in regions of Canada with the lowest rates of unemployment, we will use the best 22 weeks. In other regions, the number of weeks used to calculate benefits will be somewhere between 14 and 22, depending on the unemployment rate in those regions. Temporary COVID-19 relief
|Regional rate of unemployment||Required weeks|
|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|
To find out the rate of unemployment in your region, visit EI Program Characteristics.
Once the weekly benefit rate is established, it will remain unchanged over the life of your claim.
If your net family income does not exceed $25,921 per year, you have children and your spouse receives the Canada Child 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
- 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.
As your income level rises, the Family Supplement gradually decreases, so that when the maximum income of $25,921 is reached no supplement is payable.
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.
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