Federal

Employment Insurance (EI) Maternity and Parental Benefits

Complex application

Tax filing required

Employment Insurance (EI) Maternity and Parental Benefits provide financial support to pregnant mothers and parents.

EI Maternity benefits are for biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth.

  • Benefits can be paid for a maximum of 15 weeks.
  • Benefits can be paid as early as 12 weeks before the expected date of birth, and end as late as 17 weeks after the actual date of birth.
  • The weekly benefit rate is 55% of your average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount.

EI Parental benefits are offered to parents of non-biological children after the child is placed with them. There are two options available:

Standard parental benefits

  • Maximum of 35 weeks and must be claimed within 12 months after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption.
  • The two parents can share these 35 weeks.
  • The weekly benefit rate is 55% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount. Up to $595 per week.

Extended parental benefits

  • Maximum of 61 weeks and must be claimed within 18 months after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption.
  • The two parents can share these 61 weeks.
  • The benefit rate is 33% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount.
  • This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $357 per week.

You may be able to get this benefit if you:

  • Are employed in insurable employment.
  • Meet the specific criteria for receiving EI maternity or parental benefits.
  • Have normal weekly earnings that have been reduced by more than 40 percent.
  • Have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period.

Social Insurance Number

  • confirmation of SIN letter
  • plastic SIN card (non-expired)

Apply for EI Maternity and Parental

  • Apply as soon as possible after you stop working, even if your employer has not yet issued your Record of Employment.
  • If you delay applying for benefits later than four weeks after your last day of work, you risk losing benefits.
  • Submit an application online. It will take about 60 minutes to complete.

Notes:

  • If you are entitled to receive benefits, you should receive your first payment within 28 days of the date your claim and all required documents are received.
    • There may be one week for which you will not be paid - this is the waiting period.
  • If you are not entitled to receive benefits, you will be notified by letter or by telephone to explain why.
    • If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to request a reconsideration.

For EI Maternity Benefits:

  • You can apply before you give birth.
    • You can start receiving benefits as early as 12 weeks 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.
    • The date you submit your application is very important, since it affects the number of weeks of maternity benefits you are entitled to receive.
      • If you have difficulty determining which maternity benefit period works best for you, call Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742).
  • When the actual date of birth is different from the expected date of birth, you must let Service Canada know the child's actual date of birth as soon as possible by calling 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742) or by visiting a Service Canada Centre.

For EI Parental Benefits:

  • You will have to select under which option you choose to claim EI parental benefits: standard or extended.
    • Both parents can apply for EI parental benefits, but they have to share them.
    • Both parents are required to choose the same parental benefit option.
    • The option chosen by the first claimant who completes the EI application will be considered as the option chosen by the second claimant, and
    • The choice is final once parental benefits have been paid on a claim.
  • You must provide the date of birth of your newborn or, in the case of an adoption, the date on which your child was placed with you
    • You must also provide the full name and address of the agency handling the adoption.

Last updated: August 17, 2021