Unemployment benefits in Canada
If you become unemployed in Canada through no fault of your own, you may qualify for unemployment benefits. Find out how much you can get from the government.
The Government of Canada understands that not working can lead to financial hardship, so it offers Employment Insurance (EI) payments — temporary financial assistance — to those who qualify. Simply put — unemployment benefits.
The benefit partially compensates for the income you lost. The period for which you can receive help varies from 14 to 45 weeks. This depends on the unemployment rate in your area and the number of insurance hours you have worked during the last year.
In which cases you may qualify for an allowance:
- at your previous job had insurance;
- you lost your job through no fault of your own (for example, you were fired for no reason, or you quit because of harassment, a toxic work environment, etc.)
- you have not worked or been paid for 7 consecutive days in the past year;
- you have worked the required number of insurance hours (420-700 hours* in the last year, depending on the region);
- you are willing and able to work full-time;
- you're actively looking for work.
*Due to the pandemic, from September 26, 2021 to September 24, 2022, there is a requirement to work 420 hours.
In which cases you will not receive a benefit:
- you voluntarily quit your job without a good reason;
- you were fired for misconduct;
- you are unemployed because you are involved in a labour dispute (for example, a strike, lockout or other type of conflict);
- you're serving a prison sentence.
Amount of unemployment benefits
The amount of benefits depends on your previous salary. For most people, the basic rate for calculating benefits is 55% of average insured weekly earnings.
From September 26, 2021, the amount of benefits is $ 300 CAD per week. Unemployment benefits are tax deductible.
Applying for unemployment benefit
The application is online.
You will need the following information:
- your Social Security Number (SIN). If your SIN begins with a 9, you need to provide proof of your immigration status and work authorization;
- your mother's maiden name;
- your postal and residential addresses with zip codes;
- bank account information, including the name of the financial institution, bank branch number and account number;
- information about all places of employment over the last year: company names, addresses, dates of employment and reasons for termination of employment;
- a detailed description of the situation (if you quit your job or were fired from your job in the last year);
- maximum earnings per week for the last year, with dates (the week counts from Sunday to Saturday).
It takes about 60 minutes to complete the application. The website will walk you through the process step by step and provide detailed instructions on how to complete the application.
The waiting period to receive the benefit is one week. You will not receive the benefit during this period.
As an applicant for unemployment benefits, you have a continuing responsibility. For example, you must actively look for work and accept offers from employers. You may also be asked to provide detailed records of when and which employers you have contacted as proof of your job search. These records should be kept for 6 years, just in case.
Every two weeks, you will have to fill out reports to prove your eligibility.
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