EI rights and responsibilities

Official title: Your rights and responsibilities towards Employment Insurance (EI)

What you should know

The right to receive benefits involves a shared responsibility between you and Service Canada. Your responsibilities are determined according to the type of benefits you are requesting: regular benefits, including fishing benefits, maternity or parental, sickness, compassionate care benefits or benefits for parents of critically ill children.

Your rights - You have the right to:

  • file a claim for EI benefits;
  • receive any benefits that are owing to you;
  • request a reconsideration of any decisions we make about your benefits that you find unsatisfactory;
  • see any government record that contains your personal information; and
  • be served in the official language of your choice.

When requesting EI regular benefits, including fishing benefits, you must:

  • be capable of and available for work and unable to obtain suitable employment;
  • actively search for and accept offers of suitable employment. For further information on what constitutes suitable employment, visit the Employment Insurance section of the Service Canada Website;
    • conduct job search activities that increase your opportunities to find suitable employment, such as:
      • assessing employment opportunities;
      • preparing a résumé or cover letter;
      • registering for job search tools or with electronic job banks or employment agencies;
      • attending job search workshops or job fairs;
      • networking;
      • contacting prospective employers;
      • submitting job applications;
      • attending interviews;
      • undergoing evaluations of competencies.
  • keep a detailed record as proof of your job search efforts to find suitable employment as we may ask you to provide that proof at any time. Therefore you must keep your job search record for 6 years;
  • let us know when you refuse any offers of employment;
  • report all periods when you are not available for work;
  • provide all the required information and documents;
  • keep your appointments with our office;
  • notify us of any separation from employment and the reasons for the separation;
  • report any absences from your area of residence and/or any absence from Canada;
  • report all employment, whether you work for someone else or yourself;
  • accurately report all employment earnings before deductions in the week(s) in which you earn them, as well as any other money you may receive.

You are not required to have employers sign your job search form or provide you with a letter confirming that you have applied for a job.

When requesting maternity or parental benefits you must:

  • provide all the required information and documents;
  • provide our office with your child's actual date of birth;
  • in the case of an adoption, provide the date of the child's placement with you, the name and address of the adoption authority;
  • report all employment, whether you work for someone else or for yourself;
  • accurately report all employment earnings before deductions for the week(s) in which they were earned, as well as any other monies you may receive.

When requesting sickness benefits you must:

  • accurately report all periods of incapacity;
  • obtain a medical certificate that confirms the duration of your incapacity;
  • provide all other required information and documents;
  • report any absences from your area of residence and/or any absence from Canada;
  • report all employment, whether you work for someone else or for yourself;
  • accurately report all employment earnings before deductions, in the week(s) in which they were earned, as well as any other monies you may receive.

When requesting compassionate care benefits you must:

  • provide an authorization to release a medical certificate and a medical certificate completed by a doctor or other medical practitioner indicating that your ill family member has a significant risk of death within the next 26 weeks (six months) and requires your care or support;
  • provide all required information and documents;
  • notify Service Canada of any situation that may arise which could affect EI benefits; for example, if your gravely ill family member dies or recovers;
  • report all employment, whether you work for someone else or yourself;
  • accurately report all employment earnings before deductions in the week(s) in which they were earned, as well as any other monies you may receive;
  • decide with other eligible family members who will serve the waiting period if compassionate care, parental or benefits for parents of critically ill children are shared;
  • inform us whether you or the other parent request benefits for parents of critically ill children if the gravely ill family member is a critically ill child.

When requesting benefits for parents of critically ill children, you must:

  • provide an authorization to release a medical certificate and submit a medical certificate completed by a medical doctor who is licensed to practice medicine in Canada as a specialist indicating that your ill child requires your care or support;
  • provide all required information and documents;
  • notify Service Canada of any situation that may arise which could affect EI benefits; for example, if your critically ill child dies or recovers to the point that they no longer require your care or support;
  • report all employment, whether you work in self-employment or for someone else;
  • accurately report all employment earnings before deductions, in the week(s) in which they were earned, as well as any other money you may receive. If your earnings come from self-employment, you may deduct operating expenses before declaring the amount;
  • decide with the other eligible parent who will serve the waiting period if benefits for parents of critically ill children are shared;
  • inform us whether you, the other parent, or other family members are requesting compassionate care benefits in relation to the same critically ill child.

Other important information

Payment of benefits

Your EI payments may be delayed if, for example, you received vacation or severance pay from your employer. If your payments are delayed or affected in any way, we will let you know in writing.

Waiting period

Usually, there is a two-week waiting period at the start of your claim when you will not receive any benefits. There are certain circumstances, however, when we can waive the waiting period.

Reports

If you have chosen not to complete reports while claiming maternity, parental, compassionate care, benefits for parents of critically ill children or apprenticeship benefits, you must inform Service Canada immediately if you have any earnings and/or employment to declare.

Apprentices

To be eligible for EI as an apprentice, you must be taking courses in an apprenticeship program the EI Commission has referred you to and you must have stopped working to attend the course.

Absence from Canada

You must report any absences from Canada. You may be able to receive EI benefits when you are temporarily outside Canada. For example, you can receive sickness benefits if you are in the United States receiving medical treatment that is not readily or immediately available in Canada. If you are residing in the United States permanently, you may be able to receive EI regular, maternity, parental, compassionate care benefits and benefits for parents of critically ill children as long as you meet the requirements for these benefits. You may also file a claim for maternity, parental, compassionate care benefits or benefits for parents of critically ill children if you reside outside Canada or the United States and are covered by Canada’s EI program.

Interest

We charge interest on any debts you incur as a result of misrepresentation. We calculate interest on overdue debts daily, and that interest compounds monthly on the amount owing at the average Bank of Canada rate plus 3% percent.

False or misleading statements

If you knowingly withhold information or make a false or misleading statement, you have committed an act or omission that could result in an overpayment of benefits as well as severe penalties or prosecution. However, if you notify Service Canada of your actions, we can waive monetary penalties or prosecution if we are not already investigating the matter.

Money owing

If you owe any money to the Employment Insurance program, or to the Canada Revenue Agency, or if the Department of Justice is garnisheeing your wages for unpaid family support, we may have to deduct money directly from your benefits. To make repayment arrangements, call the number indicated on your overpayment notice.

Our responsibilities to you

  • give you prompt and courteous service;
  • advise you of the programs and services available to you;
  • serve you in the official language of your choice;
  • establish a claim for benefits, if you meet the qualifying conditions specified in the Employment Insurance Act and Regulations;
  • process your claim within the same timeframe regardless of how you apply online, in person, or by mail;
  • provide you with accurate information about your claim, including how you may share parental benefits with your EI-eligible spouse or partner, compassionate care benefits with other EI-eligible family members and benefits for parents of critically ill children with the other EI eligible parent, and whether or not you will be required to serve a two-week waiting period;
  • let you know about decisions we've made about your claim and explain the process to follow if you disagree with a decision.
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