EI Sickness Benefit - Eligibility

2. Eligibility

The following information is a guideline. We encourage you to apply for benefits so our processing agents can determine if you are eligible.

You may be entitled to receive EI sickness benefits if:

  • you are employed in insurable employment;
  • you meet the specific criteria for receiving EI sickness benefits;
  • your normal weekly earnings have been reduced by more than 40%; and
  • you have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period.

EI sickness benefits are payable only to those people who are unable to work because of sickness, injury or quarantine but who would otherwise be available for work if not for their incapacity due to medical reasons. To receive sickness benefits, you need to obtain a medical certificate signed by your doctor or approved medical practitioner.

Note: You are responsible for any fees your doctor or approved medical practitioner charges you for completing the medical certificate.

Number of hours of insurable employment required to qualify for EI

The number of hours of insurable employment you need to qualify for EI depends on your situation. However, in all cases, the hours of insurable employment that are used to calculate your benefit period must have been accumulated during your qualifying period.

The qualifying period is the shorter of:

  • the 52-week period immediately before the start date of your EI claim; or
  • the period from the start of a previous EI benefit period to the start of your new EI benefit period, if you applied for benefits earlier and your application was approved in the last 52 weeks.

Note: If you made a false statement or misrepresentation on a previous EI claim and were assessed a violation, you may be required to accumulate more hours of insurable employment or earnings to qualify for benefits in the future. The increase in the number of hours or earnings you will need depends on the number and seriousness of misrepresentations that have been recorded in the five-year period before the start of your claim.

The number of hours is shown in the following table:

Number of hours of insurable hours required to qualify for benefits
Regional rate of unemployment Without violation Minor


Very serious violation Subsequent

6 % and under 700 875 1050 1225 1400
6.1 % to 7 % 665 831 998 1164 1330
7.1 % to 8 % 630 788 945 1103 1260
8.1 % to 9 % 595 744 893 1041 1190
9.1 % to 10 % 560 700 840 980 1120
10.1 % to 11 % 525 656 788 919 1050
11.1 % to 12 % 490 613 735 858 980
12.1 % to 13 % 455 569 683 796 910
More than13 % 420 525 630 735 840

Not applicable to you?

Are EI sickness benefits not applicable to you? Use the Benefits Finder to find other Government of Canada, provincial, or territorial benefits.

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