EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS (canada) – what these benefits offer

Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, or seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can’t find a job.
Always apply for EI benefits as soon as you stop working. You can apply for benefits even if you have not yet received your record of employment (ROE). If you delay filing your claim for benefits for more than 4 weeks after your last day of work, you may lose benefits.

Do you qualify?

The information below should be used as a guideline. It is encouraged that you to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits as soon as possible to help determine if you’re eligible. You need to demonstrate that you:

  • were employed in insurable employment
  • lost your job through no fault of your own (are affected by flooding or wildfires)
  • have been without work and without pay for at least 7 consecutive days in the last 52 weeks
  • have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter
  • are ready, willing and capable of working each day
  • are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them)

To prove your eligibility and to receive payments you may be entitled to, you’re required to complete bi-weekly reports by internet or telephone. Failure to do so can mean a loss of benefits. You may still qualify for benefits, even if you work for an employer who is related to you.

You may not be entitled for benefits:

  • if you voluntarily left your job without just cause
  • if you were dismissed for misconduct
  • if you’re unemployed because you’re directly participating in a labour dispute (for example, a strike, lockout or other type of conflict)
  • during a period of leave that compensates for a period in which you worked under an agreement with your employer, more hours than are normally worked in full-time employment

You’re not entitled to receive EI benefits while you’re confined to a jail, penitentiary or other similar institution.
If you’ve been incarcerated but are later found not guilty by a court of law on all counts in relation to the event that led to your incarceration, your qualifying period and benefit period may be extended upon providing necessary proof.
Once you’ve applied for EI benefits, you’ll be asked to provide proof that you were confined to a jail, penitentiary or other similar institution and that you were not found guilty of the offence(s) from the event(s) for which you were being held.

For a qualifying period or benefit period to be extended, you’ll be asked to submit the following documents:

  • a letter from the institution where you were incarcerated, specifying the dates of your incarceration
  • documentation showing that no other outstanding charge(s) in relation to the event(s) that originally led to the incarceration exist, to confirm the time served is not being credited to any other charge(s) in relation to the original event or any other subsequent event
  • proof that you have not been found guilty of the charge(s) from the original event that led to your incarceration


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