The Employment Insurance Program was started by the Federal Government of Canada to provide income support temporarily to those workers who are unemployed or to those who wish to take a break from employment to upgrade their skills. Special benefits are also made available to those who have to take time off work due to some specific reasons such as pregnancy, an illness or for taking care of a new bring child or an adopted child or a critically ill family member or to care for someone who is injured. Those who take a break from employment for a family member who is I’ll and has a significant risk of death also are eligible for special benefits. 

If you have paid your premiums in the last year and qualify all the eligibility requirements, you can receive the benefits of Employment Insurance. If you are self-employed you can still receive coverage from this insurance. 

Role of Canada Employment Insurance Commission. 

The CEIC is like the leader of this insurance program authorized by the Canadian government. It is responsible to set the annual premium rates of Employment Insurance. 

  • The CIEC provides accurate Employment Insurance benefits on time.
  • It supports the clients of Employment Insurance through the entire process.
  • It provides all the necessary information about the benefits they can receive.
  • It patiently responds to all the queries and questions of the clients.
  • It also provides assistance to employers.
  • It processes the claims and also provides the clients with a means to appeal certain decisions made by the Canada Employment Insurance Commission.
  • It is also accountable for authenticating and identifying the clients.
  • It also detects and prevents fraud as well as abuse. 


You must fulfill the following conditions to qualify for Employment Insurance. 

  • Employment in a job that is insurable is a must.
  • You must not have lost your job because of your own fault.
  • You should be without work and income for a week in the last 52 weeks.
  • You could also have worked since the start of your Employment Insurance claim. 
  • In the last 52 weeks i.e. a year’s time, you should have completed as much work as the number of employment hours necessary for insurance.
  • If given the opportunity, you must be capable, ready as well as willing to work on a daily basis.
  • You should be active in the search for work. Keep a record of which employers you have contacted and when to prove this.
  • You will also be required to finish reports via the Internet or telephone once every 2 weeks. If you do not submit the report, you can lose your benefits. 
  • You can also qualify if you work for an employer who is also a relative of yours. 

Who is Not Entitled to the Benefits. 

You may not be entitled to the benefits of Employment Insurance if any of the following is true for you. 

  • If you left your job voluntarily without giving a cause.
  • If you were dismissed from your previous employment for misconduct.
  • If your unemployment is because you took part in a labour dispute.
  • If you took a leave and worked for an employer for more hours than the full-time job requires.
  • If you are in a jail or a penitentiary institution.

If you are incarcerated but later found not guilty by a legal court in all cases that relate to the incident that led to you being incarcerated, you will need to provide proof for your benefit period to be extended. 

Extension of Benefit Period. 

You will need the following supporting documents if you wish for your benefit period to be extended. 

  • You must have a letter from the institute where you were incarcerated with the mention of the date of your incarceration.
  • You must have documents to prove that no other charges are there against you in regards to the incident for which you were incarcerated.
  • Documentation must be there to show that the time you served in a prison or penitentiary system is not credited to the charges of the event.
  • You must have documents showing you were found not guilty when you were incarcerated.

Once you have these documents ready, you will be contacted by the Canada Employment Insurance Commission with instructions on how these documents are to be submitted.

Hours of Insurable Employment Required.

Depending on your situation, the number of hours you require to qualify for Employment Insurance may vary. However, these qualifying employment hours must have been worked for during the qualifying period. 

The qualifying period can be counted as the 52 weeks before the start of your insurance claim or the period from the starting date of your previous benefitting period. The latter is only applicable if you applied for benefits before and we’re approved waiting 52 weeks. You can consider the shorter of these two. 

The qualifying period can be extended to 104 weeks but it is only done in the case that you were not employed during the insurable period or if you were not receiving the benefits of Employment Insurance. 

You will be required to have accumulated 420-700 hours of Insurable Employment. This depends on the employment rate of your province or territory during the qualifying period. You can find out about the unemployment rate in your region as well as the number of hours you require to qualify to gain the regular benefits of Employment Insurance from the  EI Economic Region by Postal Code.

How to Apply for Employment Insurance.

Before applying, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for Employment Insurance. You can find out if you are eligible for regular benefits of Employment Insurance by filling-out and submitting an online application form that will take approximately 60 minutes to fill-out.

The official website has step-by-step, detailed instructions for the entire application process, the method to fill out the fields and complete and submit the application. 

While applying for the benefits of this insurance, you will have to mention your email address as well. This is so that if the authorities need additional information, they can send you a toll-free number on which you can call an agent if you are not reachable by phone. 

In case you start a new Employment Insurance benefits claim in the last 52 weeks and some weeks are still payable on the last claim, your existing claim will automatically get reactivated or renewed with your existing claim when your application is submitted. It may be beneficial for you to end your previous claim and get started with the same or a different new claim, as this can sometimes increase the amount you receive as your benefit or it may extend the length of your benefit period. Whether you want to cancel or renew a claim must be decided by you based on your own personal situation.

Tips to keep in mind. 

Here are some things you must consider.

  • If your claim gets reactivated but you are working after the beginning of the other claim, you can make a new claim when your existing claim ends.
  • Having the required hours of work that are insurable and meeting the eligibility conditions for a new claim to establish a new claim is a must.
  • In case a new claim is made and established and your existing claim is not reactivated, the weeks remaining that are payable on the existing claim will be lost.
  • Before you are entitled to receive payment, a one-week waiting period that is not paid will have to be served on a new claim.