Staying financially stable while being unemployed can be challenging. Most people lost their jobs during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some people have resumed work, others are still stuck in their unemployed state.
To ease living and support people in this category, the Canadian government has a unique program that assists qualified unemployed Canadians with some funds.
The Employment Insurance Benefit
The program is termed the Employment Insurance (EI) benefit. It is a temporary financial aid system aimed at supporting eligible unemployed citizens. And over half a million people in Canada receive these funds monthly to aid their living conditions.
This income is available only when you lose your job through no fault of yours. You should be actively job hunting to qualify. The EI funds are accessible from 13 weeks up to about 45 weeks and above, depending on your province’s employment rate.
About the number of insurable hours you’ve accrued, you must have an average of 120 insured hours in the last 52 weeks since March 15 to qualify. All EI funds are tax-deductible on both federal and provincial levels. Also, you can apply for an EI claim bi-weekly if you qualify.
Ensure to have an ongoing claim before April when submitting your first application for EI. This is because if you apply for E1, SC will continue your previous EI for the remaining weeks left.
Due to the pandemic, the new EI benefit amount is higher than what most Canadians got on the old EI. It is advisable to check your working hours; if you have 120 working hours credit, you can end your old claim and apply for a new claim.
Employment Insurance Eligibility
The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) has a significant influence in overseeing the EI program. Also, the CEIC is responsible for establishing the annual EI premium rate.
When applying for an EI, bear in mind that EI is not guaranteed right after losing your job. Your chances of approval may be high if you meet the following eligibility requirement:
- You resign for some specific acceptable reasons like provable harassment, toxic work environment, etc.
- Your previous employment was insurable.
- You have worked the required average number of hours
- There is proof that you’ve been job hunting daily
- You lost your job via termination without any reason
Employment Insurance Ineligibility
Your chances of getting approval are slim if you fall under the following:
- Your employer fired you due to misconduct
- You quit your job without any genuine reasons
- Your unemployment is due to involvement in labor disputes
- You are serving jail time or in a similar institution
Cancelling EI in Canada
Several reasons might warrant that you cancel an existing EI; some of them include:
- Getting a new job
In a case where you found a new permanent job, it might be pretty challenging to cancel the claim via your My Service Canada Account (MSCA). However, below are some ways you can go about it.
On your following EI report covering the week you went back to work, you can declare that you have secured full-time employment. By doing this, you are informing the system, and action will be taken. The system will pay you up to the day before you went back to work and close your claim.
Alternatively, you can contact the EI call center directly. During this call, you can request that the call center agent stop your claim manually. This option is suitable for claimants who are exempt from completing their EI report. You can contact the EI office directly at 1-800-206-7218.
- Commencing another EI claim
If you are canceling your existing claim to start a new one, you do not have to begin the application fresh. To cancel your current claim, you must contact EI by calling 1-800-206-7218 ( TTY: 1-800-529-3742).
Bear in mind that once you proceed to cancel your EI, you cannot retract your decision. The best time to call the EI call center is between Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 9:30 am.
Employment insurance has continued to help Canadians through challenging unemployment circumstances. However, if you need to cancel your claim, it is advisable to speak with an EI agent to put through the most suitable process.
Note that once the claim is stopped, you will have to re-apply through the online application again if you plan to go back on your EI claim. If you commenced a new claim for EI benefits within the past 52 weeks, and there are unpaid weeks still payable. In that case, the claim will automatically be reactivated when you complete the EI application.
If you change your mind and re-apply, once your claim has been reactivated, you will be paid for the remaining entitlement benefit weeks left on your existing claim before it expired.