Employment Insurance (EI) provides temporary financial assistance to unemployed Canadians who have lost their job through no fault of their own, while they look for work or upgrade their skills.

Canadians who are sick, pregnant, or caring for a newborn or adopted child, as well as those who must care for a family member who is seriously ill with a significant risk of death, may also be assisted by Employment Insurance.

Types of Employment Insurance benefits

There are several types of benefits available to Canadians, depending on their situation.

  • Employment Insurance Regular Benefits are available to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal layoffs, or mass layoffs) and who are available for and able to work, but can’t find a job.
  • Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits provide support to individuals who are pregnant, have recently given birth, are adopting a child, or are caring for a newborn.
  • Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits are for individuals who are unable to work because of sickness, injury, or quarantine.
  • Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits are available to people who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death.
  • Employment Insurance benefits for Parents of Critically Ill Children are available to eligible parents who take leave from work to provide care or support their critically ill or injured child.
  • Employment Insurance Fishing Benefits provide support to qualifying, self-employed fishers who are actively seeking work.

Employment Insurance Initiatives

  • Variable Best Weeks Initiative: Beginning April 7, 2013, the benefit amount used to calculate Employment Insurance (EI) regular and special benefits will be based on the highest weeks of earnings over the previous year.
  • Employment Insurance Special Benefits for Self-Employed People: Registered and qualified self-employed Canadians can access Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits: maternity, parental, sickness, and compassionate care.
  • Extension of Eligibility Period for Employment Insurance Parental Benefits for Military Families: If your parental leave has been deferred or interrupted because of an imperative military requirement, the parental eligibility period during which Employment Insurance (EI) parental benefit can be paid may be extended by one week for every week that you are unable to collect EI parental benefits

Source: Service Canada

Last updated: May 2015

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