The Government of Canada is commited to help the middle class and those working hard to join it. As a result of changes made on January 1, 2017, the waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits has been cut to one week. Reducing the waiting period provides more money for EI-eligible individuals when they become unemployed or leave work temporarily due to health or family pressures. By October 1, 2019, about five million cumulative claimants will have benefitted from this change.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced that this change has resulted in an estimated additional $650 million dollars a year.
For example, for an eligible claimant who is laid off, and subsequently finds work after 12 weeks, the change means that up to 11 weeks of EI benefits will be payable whereas only up to 10 weeks were payable in the past. The reduction of the waiting period applies to all types of EI benefits—regular, fishing, sickness, maternity, parental, compassionate care, Family Caregiver benefits.
This is just one part of the Government of Canada’s recent actions to provide workers, parents and caregivers with more flexible, inclusive and easier to access EI benefits. These include:
- making the default rules of the most recent Working While on Claim pilot project permanent and extending them to EI maternity and sickness benefits;
- providing a choice of duration of parental benefits;
- providing additional weeks of EI regular benefits to eligible seasonal claimants in 13 targeted regions; and,
- providing more opportunities for eligible EI claimants to upskill and enhance their employability while still receiving EI benefits.
Finally, new parental sharing benefits that provide additional weeks of benefits to families when parents of a newborn or newly adopted child share parental benefits will be available starting in March 2019.
“Every Canadian’s situation is unique. By providing support sooner, we are ensuring middle class families has the money they need, when they need it the most. We are making EI caregiving, maternity and parental benefits more flexible, inclusive and easier to access, we are providing hard-working middle-class Canadian families with more options to better balance their work and life responsibilities.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
- The reduction in the waiting period does not affect the speed of the first payment. The current standard of providing payment within 28 days, 80 percent of the time, continues to apply.
- About two-thirds of claimants return to work before using all their weeks of entitlement.
- The 2019 EI premium rate will be $1.62 per $100 of insurable earnings—a decrease of 4 cents for employees compared to the 2018 rate and an effective decrease of 5 cents for employers, who pay 1.4 times the employee rate.
- It is estimated a cumulative total of about 2.2 million claimants would benefit from the Working While on Claim measure as of October 1, 2019.
- The pilot project aimed at assisting seasonal workers is expected to help approximately 51,500 EI seasonal claimants annually.
- With Skills Boost,it is estimated that about 7,000 adult learners per year will take advantage of the expansion of EI options to take training while continuing to receive EI benefits.