Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance (EI) provides temporary financial assistance to help unemployed Canadians while they look for a job or upgrade their skills. There are also EI benefits to help 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 or who must provide care or support to their critically ill or injured child.


You can apply for EI Benefits through the Service Canada website.

Types of Employment Insurance benefits

There are several types of EI benefits available to Canadians, including

  • Regular Benefits
  • Maternity and Parental Benefits
  • Sickness Benefits
  • Compassionate Care Benefits 
  • Benefits for Parents of Critically Ill Children

How much can I receive from EI?

In all cases, the maximum amount you can receive is $514/month (minus income tax).

How can I be eligible for EI?

You may be entitled to receive EI regular benefits if you:

  • are employed in insurable employment;
  • lost your job through no fault of your own;
  • have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks;
  • 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;
  • are ready, willing, and capable of working each day; and
  • are actively looking for work.

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

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

For non-Regular EI Benefits, you must have been employed in insurable employment, your normal weekly earnings were reduced by more than 40%, and you must have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period. The qualifying period is the shorter of:

  • the 52-week period immediately before the start date of your EI period; or
  • the period since the start of a previous EI benefit period, if that benefit period started during the last 52 weeks.

The duration of payments and the specific eligibility criteria differs for each type of benefit.

Specific Criteria for EI Maternity and Parental Benefits

You can receive EI maternity benefits if you are a mother who is unable to work because you are pregnant or have recently given birth. You can start receiving benefits during the eighth week before your due date or before the actual week you give birth. You cannot receive EI maternity benefits more than 17 weeks after the week you were expected to give birth or the week you actually gave birth, whichever is later.

You can receive EI parental benefits if you are the biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parent that is caring for your newborn or newly adopted child.

Specific Criteria for EI Sickness Benefits

You can receive EI sickness benefits if you are unable to work because of sickness, injury or quarantine but would otherwise be available for work if not for your incapacity due to medical reasons. To receive sickness benefits, you need to obtain a medical certificate signed by your doctor or approved medical practitioner.

Specific Criteria for EI Compassionate Care Benefits

You can receive compassionate care benefits for up to a maximum of six weeks if you have to be absent from work to provide care or support to a gravely ill family member at risk of dying within 26 weeks. If you are unemployed and already receiving EI benefits, you can also apply for compassionate care benefits.

Specific Criteria for EI special benefits for Parents of Critically Ill Children

ou can receive EI special benefits for Parents of Critically Ill Children (PCIC) for up to 35 weeks if you have to be absent from work to provide care or support to your critically ill or injured child. If you are unemployed and already receiving EI benefits, you can also apply for the PCIC benefit.

To be eligible for the PCIC benefit, you must be able to show that:

  • your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% because you need to provide care or support to your critically ill or injured child
  • you are the parent of a child who is critically ill or injured
  • your child is under 18 years of age at the time the 52-week window during which PCIC benefits can be paid opens (based on the date the specialist medical doctor states that your child became critically ill or injured)

Decisions about your eligibility for and amount of EI Benefits

If Service Canada makes a decision on your application for EI benefits that you do not agree with, such as benefits being refused, a request for repayment of benefits, or a warning letter has been issued or a penalty imposed, you can request a reconsideration of that decision.


If you do not agree with the decision made following a request for reconsideration of an Employment Insurance application decision, you can file an appeal with the Social Security Tribunal (SST).

How we can help?

At PooranLaw we provide advice and representation to individuals whose claim for EI benefits have been denied. We assist claimants with requests for reconsideration as well as appeals before the Social Security Tribunal.