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employment Insurance

Please note that ERI Distance Learning Center does not provide, other than what is found on this page, advice or counseling on the Canadian employment insurance program. For more information please visit the Service Canada website.

In Canada, unlike the U.S. where unemployment insurance is a program of the states, unemployment insurance is a program of the federal government and not the provinces. The program is self-funding from contributions by both employees and employers.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Weeks of unemployment benefits has two components:

1. Work component:  

  • first 40 weeks - up to 20 weeks of benefits based on one week of benefits for every two weeks of work  

  • weeks beyond 40 - up to 12 weeks based upon one week benefits for each week of work.  

2. Regional Unemployment Rate - up to 26 weeks of benefits based on two weeks for every percentage point by which the regional unemployment rate exceeds 4%.  


Applicant must have:

  1. been an employee in an organization contributing to the program
  2. been dismissed for "just cause" and not fired for misconduct
  3. earned a minimum amount (20% of weekly maximum insurable earnings)
  4. 20 or more weeks of insurable earnings, except that in areas of high unemployment this may be reduced as far as 12 weeks.  

Premium Reduction

The employer unemployment insurance premiums may be reduced below the 1.4 times the employee rate under certain circumstances. 

To be eligible for premium reduction, an organization must have:

  1. formal commitment to providing disability income to employees
  2. employees become eligible for disability after three months of employment
  3. benefits that start on the 15th day after disability
  4. when cession of benefits occur on termination, this restriction may only be for employees whose disability occurred within two months of termination
  5. a benefit level at least 60% of earnings
  6. benefits that cannot be reduced by unemployment insurance
  7. employees who return to work have full coverage reinstated
  8. at east 5/12 of the saved premium must be shared with employees.

Special Benefits

  • Maternity Benefits: A pregnant employee is entitled to 15 weeks of benefits provided she has been employed for 600 hours in the previous 52 weeks or since the start of her last claim. More information

  • Parental Benefits: A new parent, by birth or adoption, may receive 35 weeks of benefits. More information

  • Sick Benefits: An employee may be entitled to up to 15 weeks of benefits for sickness, accident or quarantine.

Last updated: 03-08

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ERI Economic Research Institute is an Authorized User of selected Statistics Canada data under Agreement Number 6184. ERI’s intellectual property rights include Patent Nos. 6,862,596 and 7,647,322, "System and method for retrieving and displaying data, such as economic data relating to salaries, cost of living and employee benefits." Other Internet-related applications are Patents Pending.

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