Employment Insurance – COVID-19

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

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Temporary changes to Employment Insurance

Temporary changes have been made to the Employment Insurance (EI) program to help you access EI benefits. These changes are in effect until September 2021. Go to EI benefits and leave to find the benefit type that applies to your situation. The following changes 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 receive a one-time credit of:
    • 300 insured hours if you're applying for regular benefits
    • 480 insured hours if you're applying for sickness, maternity, parental or caregiving benefits
  • you'll receive at least $500 per week before taxes, or $300 per week before taxes for extended parental benefits but you could receive more
  • if you qualify for regular benefits, you’ll be eligible for up to 50 weeks of benefits
  • if you're applying for sickness benefits, you don't need to get a medical certificate
  • if you're a fisher, we'll look at the earnings from your 2018, 2019 and 2020 summer or winter seasons to determine your benefit rate and establish your claim for the same season
  • if you’re registered for the self-employed program, you need to have made at least $5,000 in net earnings in 2020 to be eligible for benefits in 2021
  • if you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended

If you need financial assistance after your CERB ends

If you received the CERB through Service Canada

In most cases, you do not need to apply for EI benefits. After you receive your last CERB payment, continue completing reports. We'll automatically review your file and your record of employment (ROE), then start a claim for EI regular benefits if you qualify. If you don’t qualify, you’ll be notified by mail.

You will need to apply for EI after your CERB ends if:

  • you have a social insurance number (SIN) that starts with a 9
  • you’re self-employed, or
  • you declared that you returned to work full-time on your CERB report

Make sure your ROE has been submitted to Service Canada

You or your employer(s) must submit an ROE for each job you had in the 52 weeks before the beginning of your CERB. We need your ROEs as soon as possible to determine if you qualify for EI benefits and how much you’ll receive.

Register for My Service Canada Account (MSCA) to view ROEs that have been issued to you by past and current employers. You can also get more information about your EI claim, including the number of weeks and the weekly amount you’ll receive.

If you need sickness benefits instead of regular benefits

You can declare on your reports that you’re unable to work for medical reasons and you could receive up to 15 weeks of sickness benefits.

If you received the CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency

You need to receive all your CERB payments before applying for EI benefits. You can apply after the end of your last CERB eligibility period. Visit EI benefits and leave to determine which benefit is right for your situation and to apply online.

We recognize that you may experience difficulties applying online as we're receiving a large volume of applications. If you’re unable to apply online, please try again later.

Make sure your ROE has been submitted to Service Canada

You or your employer(s) must submit a record of employment (ROE) for each job you had in the 52 weeks before the beginning of your CERB. We need your ROEs as soon as possible to determine if you qualify for EI benefits and how much you’ll receive.

Register for My Service Canada Account (MSCA) to view ROEs that have been issued to you by past and current employers. You can also get more information about your EI claim, including the number of weeks and the weekly amount you’ll receive.

Once we’ve determined that you’re eligible to receive EI benefits and have completed your first biweekly report, you’ll receive your first payment. This should occur within 28 days of applying. If you apply for regular or sickness benefits, you’ll have to complete reports for as long as you receive benefits to continue being paid.

If you’re not eligible for EI benefits

You may be eligible for other benefits, including the:

Questions and answers

Questions about the Canada Recovery Benefits

Please read these questions and answers for more details.

Questions about the temporary changes to EI

Please read these questions and answers for more details.

Contact us

For information about EI, for additional questions about the CERB through Service Canada or if you have questions about transitioning to EI, please contact the EI call centre at 1-800-206-7218.

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