Canada. Employment Insurance

Temporary financial assistance and support in finding new employment; able-bodied claimants must be seeking employment to remain eligible.

Basic benefit rate is 55% of average insured earnings up to a maximum insurable amount of $42,300 in 2009

maximum weekly benefit $447

claimants may earn up to 25% of regular benefits or $50 per week (whichever is higher) without a reduction in EI payment

duration of benefits based on insured weeks of work and regional unemployment rate

My EI Information Online -- computer access to claim information

Family Supplement -- for low income families who receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit (see separate entry)

amount based on annual net family income up to $25,921

entitlement will be added to EI payment

Reachback -- employment assessment and counselling for persons returning to work

includes persons with active EI claims, with a claim that has ended within the last 3 years, or with a maternity/paternity claim that has ended in the past 5 years

Special benefits -- 15 weeks sickness benefits

6 weeks compassionate care benefits

15 weeks maternity benefits

35 weeks parental benefits available to natural, legal or adoptive parents -- benefits can be shared by both parents

claimants may be able to receive combination of special benefits up to 71 weeks total

Any claimant or former employer of a claimant who disagrees with a claim decision may appeal to a Board of Referees

Job Bank -- online employment information and job postings

employers wishing to list employment opportunities call 1-866-789-1297, fax 1-866-664-2534

Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, delivered by Service Canada

Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30 am-4:30 pm to speak to an agent * Recorded information Mon-Sun 24 hours
Phone: Toll Free: English 1-800-206-7218 * French 1-800-808-6352 * Automated Telephone Reporting -- English 1-800-531-7555, French 1-800-431-5595
TTY: Toll free 1-800-529-3742


Persons legally entitled to work in Canada who have an interruption of earnings due to shortage of work, injury, quarantine, pregnancy, adoption, personal illness, or a grave illness in the family. Claimants must have worked a minimum of between 420 and 700 hours (depending on region) of insured employment in the year prior to application (600 hours for maternity, parental, sickness or compassionate care benefits) * a minimum of 910 hours of insured employment required if entering workforce for the first time, or if re-entering the workforce after more than a 2-year absence * workers 65 years and older pay EI premiums and are entitled to EI benefits, though income from employment-related pensions will be deducted

Claimants who quit a job without just cause or are fired for misconduct are ineligible for regular benefits * just cause includes discrimination, sexual harassment, working conditions that constitute a danger to health and safety, significant modification of terms and conditions respecting wages or salary, leaving to care for child or immediate family member, major changes in work duties


Application forms available online, by phone or in person at Service Canada sites – see separate entries. Records of Employment from previous employers should be submitted immediately after employment has ended, to have the claim considered from the last day worked * the first 2 weeks of the claim are a waiting period for which no benefits are paid * claimants' report cards must be correctly completed to generate payment




Fully Accessible


English; French

Primary Contact Person

Lorie Corby, Manager Corporate / In-Person Services

Areas Served


Agency Type

Federal Government