how employment insurance works

What is Employment

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Employment Insurance (EI) provides temporary financial assistance to unemployed Canadians who have lost their job through no fault of their own (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.

For the purposes of this post I will be referring to regular employment insurance benefits.

What are the eligibility criteria to receive regular employment insurance benefits?

  • You have paid premiums into the EI Account;
  • You lost your employment through no fault of your own;
  • You have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks;
  • You have worked for the required number of insurable hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter;
  • You are ready, willing, and capable of working each day; and
  • You are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them).

You may not be entitled to receive EI regular benefits if:

  • You voluntarily left your employment without just cause;
  • You were dismissed for misconduct; or
  • You are unemployed because you are directly participating in a labour dispute (strike, lockout, or other type of dispute).

Do

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Yes you do need to apply for employment insurance benefits. EI benefits are not paid out automatically.

When should I apply for employment insurance benefits?

Apply as soon as you stop working. If you wait longer than 4 weeks after you stop working you risk losing your employment insurance benefits. Also, it takes a while for the Government of Canada to process your application so the early you submit the better.

How do I apply for Employment Insurance benefits?

To apply for employment insurance benefits you must submit an application online through the Service Canada Website.

How do I know if my application for employment insurance has been processed?

You can track the status of your application through “My Account” on the Service Canada Website.

When will I start to receive employment insurance benefits?

Once you submit your application, all the necessary documentation and your application is approved you will begin to receive payments within 28 days.

What will I be paid for my employment insurance benefits?

Numerous factors go into determining your specific employment insurance benefit so it is tough to know. The basic formula is 55% of your averageInternet Job insurable weekly earnings. The maximum insurable earnings (as of January 1stInternet Job 2012) is $45,900.

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ThatInternet Job means the maximumInternet Job you will receive per week is $485.

How long will I be paid my employment insurance benefits?

Another tough one to estimate, but the range is between 14 – 45 weeks. The number of weeks that you are eligible to receive employment insurance benefits depends on several factors. Those factors include the number of hours of insurable employment that you accumulated during the previous 52 weeks prior to your claim and the unemployment rate in your region.

What types of Employment Insurance benefits are there?

There are essentially 3 types of employment insurance.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits are for individuals who are unable to work because of sickness, injury, or quarantine.

Where can I find more information on Employment Insurance?

  • Visit the Service Canada Website
  • Call the Employment Insurance Telephone Information Service (1-800-206-7218)

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