Employment Insurance (EI) Regular Benefits

Complex application

Tax filing not required

Employment Insurance (EI) gives short-term financial help to unemployed Canadians who have lost their job through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal layoffs, or mass layoffs), while they look for work or update their skills.

For most people, the basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. You can receive EI from 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks.

You may be able to get this benefit if you:

  • Were employed in insurable employment (work under the authority of an employer in Canada).
  • If you are not sure whether your employment was insurable, contact CRA at 1-800-959-5525 or visit the CRA website.
  • Lost your employment 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.
  • Are ready, willing, and capable of working each day.
  • Are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them).

You may not get this benefit if you:

  • If you voluntarily left your job without just cause.
  • If you were dismissed for misconduct.
  • If you are unemployed because you are directly participating in a labor dispute (for example, a strike, lockout, or other type of conflict).
  • During a period of leave that compensates for a period in which you worked under an agreement with your employer, more hours than are normally worked in full-time employment.

Social Insurance Number

For example:

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

Apply for EI benefits:

  • Apply for EI benefits as soon as you stop working.
    • You can apply for benefits even if you have not yet received your Record of Employment.
    • If you delay filing your claim for benefits for more than four weeks after your last day of work, you may lose benefits.
  • Submit an online application to find out if you can receive EI benefits.
    • It will take 60 minutes to complete the application.
    • To apply, you will need personal information like:
      • Your SIN
      • Banking information to set up direct deposit.
      • Information about your previous employment.


  • If you are not entitled to receive EI benefits, you will be contacted by letter or by telephone to explain why.
    • If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to request a reconsideration.
  • If you are entitled to receive EI regular benefits, you should receive your first payment within 28 days of the date your application and all required documents are received.
    • Before you start receiving EI benefits, there may be one week for which you will not be paid - this is called the "waiting period."
  • You must keep a bi-weekly report about your work/earnings, training, and availability to work by internet or telephone.
    • You could lose your benefits if you don't do this.
  • Remember, EI benefits are taxable, so federal and provincial taxes will be deducted from your payment.

Last updated: August 11, 2022