Employment Insurance in Canada

Meaning of Employment Insurance

Employment insurance in Canada is a class of insurance policy that provides temporary income in the event of unemployment or inability to work as a result of various factors such as pregnancy, sickness/illness, caring for a sick family member, nursing a new born, or caring for an injured person and others.

Similarly, employment insurance also provides insurance coverage for unemployed workers while they seek employment or while they seek for an upgrade of their skills. And just like other classes of insurance policies, a policyholder under employment insurance can only access its benefits if and only if he regularly pays premiums.

In Canada, employment insurance is a Federal Government insurance program that provides insurance benefits to eligible unemployed people of Canada. For instance, a dismissed worker who needs temporary income for survival before securing a new employment typifies who needs employment insurance.

To be eligible for employment insurance benefits in Canada, your employer and/or you must have been contributing in the payment of its premiums. Additionally, another qualification for receiving a benefit is that you must have been out of work for at least seven days consecutively having worked between 420 to 700 insurable hours in a period of 52-weeks before your claim starts. In a similar vein, you must be ready and willing to work and must be serious in seeking for employment while you are out of work to be eligible.

Benefits of Employment Insurance

An employment insurance policy operates to provide temporary income and other benefits to people who lose their jobs as a result of no fault of theirs. In other words, they ready and available to work but cannot find a work. These circumstances of inability to work may arise as a result of lack of work or sacks whether seasonal or lay-offs.

Also, EI also makes provision for wider coverage for individuals with children and spouses if their total family income is less than $25,921 per annum. This family EI package can take your benefits to about %80 of your weekly income in average.

Similarly, employment insurance also provides income and insurance coverage to people who are temporarily out of work as a result of illness or sickness, injury etc. However, the maximum eligibility time for sickness is 15 weeks.

Maternity and paternity benefits are also provided by employment insurance package in Canada.

 Employment Insurance benefits in Canada also include benefits for housing and accommodation, pension, education for self and children, trainings and as well as people with disabilities.

The insurance policy also provides positive impact on the economy in that if these benefits do not exist, Canadian citizens will have no money for their day to day spending s in caring for themselves and their family members and other dependents.


There is a creation of negative economic incentive by the existence of employment insurance in Canada. This is by way of dependence on employment insurance as exists in some regions especially the Atlantic regions.

Secondly, some persons use the avenue created by employment insurance in Canada to feed into unemployment. This is because the benefits of it are higher in areas where unemployment is higher.



There are some types or classes of employment insurance and they include;

  1. Special benefits
  2. Regular benefits

Regular benefits

This is the type of employment insurance that provides coverage or pays benefits when you are without pay for a minimum of 7 days. You must have equally worked for the required number of hours on a week per week basis depending on the unemployment rate of the area you reside. And you must have also made contributions to the EI program. The payment for premiums is usually deducted from monthly salaries of workers as part of tax deductions.

Special benefits

These are the type of benefits available when you have an income reduction by more than 40%. However, you must have worked for more than 600 hours or even more in the previous weeks or since you last made your claims.

There are also different types of special benefits and they include;

  1. Maternity and parental benefits
  2. Sickness benefits
  3. Compassionate care benefits
Maternity and Parental Benefits

This is the type that provides details and benefits relating to pregnancy and child delivery. In relation to parental benefits, it covers people who had/adopted a child.

Sickness benefits

Here, one must show evidence of inability to work as a result of sickness.

Compassionate care benefits

This is the situation where a person is out of work in a bit to care for a dying member of the family.  The risk of dying must have been one which is within 26 weeks and the name of such family member must have also been on the list of qualifying family members at the time of subscribing for employment insurance to be able to qualify.

Ineligibility for Employment Insurance in Canada

There are circumstances where a person will not receive EI benefits and some of these circumstances include;

  1. Where such a person willfully leaves his employment.
  2. Situation where such individual loses job out of his own fault such as a result of misconduct.
  3. Where the person loses job as a result of participation in labor dispute. In this circumstance, the person is automatically disqualified from the benefits of employment insurance
  4. Another ground for ineligibility is where the person has not contributed for employment insurance benefits during the subsistence of his employment. A person who did not contribute through the payment of premiums will not be entitled to EI benefits.

The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC)

The CEIC is the Body in Canada responsible for the implementation of the employment insurance program such as setting the yearly rate of EI premiums.

The CEIC also has the responsibility of providing timely and accurate EI benefits. They also have the task of supporting their customers at all stages of her service delivery chain such as responding to enquiries, providing information in relation to insurance benefits, proving assistance to employers, conducting of identification and authentication for their customers as well as detecting and prevention of insurance frauds.

4 thoughts on “Employment Insurance in Canada

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