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Employment Insurance Act (S.C. 1996, c. 23)

Act current to 2022-09-11 and last amended on 2022-06-23. Previous Versions

PART IUnemployment Benefits

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Part,

    disentitled

    disentitled means not entitled under section 13, 18, 21, 31, 32, 33, 36, 37, 49 or 50 or under the regulations; (inadmissible)

    disqualified

    disqualified means disqualified under section 27 or 30; (exclu du bénéfice des prestations)

    initial claim for benefits

    initial claim for benefits means a claim made for the purpose of establishing a claimant’s benefit period; (demande initiale de prestations)

    major attachment claimant

    major attachment claimant[Repealed, 2021, c. 23, s. 302]

    minor attachment claimant

    minor attachment claimant[Repealed, 2021, c. 23, s. 302]

    qualifying period

    qualifying period means the period described in section 8; (période de référence)

    waiting period

    waiting period means the one week of the benefit period described in section 13. (délai de carence)

  • Marginal note:Rounding off percentages or fractions

    (2) A reference in this Part to an amount equal to a percentage or fraction of earnings or benefits in a period shall be rounded to the nearest multiple of one dollar or, if the amount is equidistant from two multiples of one dollar, to the higher multiple.

  • Marginal note:Hours of insurable employment

    (3) For the purposes of this Part, the number of hours of insurable employment that a claimant has in any period shall be established as provided under section 55, subject to any regulations made under paragraph 54(z.1) allocating the hours to the claimant’s qualifying period.

  • Marginal note:Employment not suitable

    (4) For the purposes of paragraphs 18(1)(a) and 27(1)(a) to (c) and subsection 50(8), employment is not suitable employment for a claimant if

    • (a) it arises in consequence of a work stoppage attributable to a labour dispute;

    • (b) it is in the claimant’s usual occupation and is either at a lower rate of earnings or on conditions less favourable than those observed by agreement between employers and employees or, in the absence of any such agreement, than those recognized by good employers; or

    • (c) it is not in the claimant’s usual occupation and is either at a lower rate of earnings or on conditions less favourable than those that the claimant might reasonably expect to obtain, having regard to the conditions that the claimant usually obtained in their usual occupation, or would have obtained if they had continued to be so employed.

  • Marginal note:Reasonable interval

    (5) After a lapse of a reasonable interval from the date on which an insured person becomes unemployed, paragraph (4)(c) does not apply to the employment described in that paragraph if it is employment at a rate of earnings not lower and on conditions not less favourable than those observed by agreement between employers and employees or, in the absence of any such agreement, than those recognized by good employers.

Qualifying for Benefits

Marginal note:Benefits payable to persons who qualify

  •  (1) Unemployment benefits are payable as provided in this Part to an insured person who qualifies to receive them.

  • Marginal note:Qualification requirement

    (2) An insured person qualifies if the person

    • (a) has had an interruption of earnings from employment; and

    • (b) has had during their qualifying period at least 420 hours of insurable employment.

  • (3) to (5) [Repealed, 2016, c. 7, s. 209]

  • Marginal note:Other benefit rights — Canada-U.S. agreement

    (6) An insured person is not qualified to receive benefits if it is jointly determined that the insured person must first exhaust or end benefit rights under the laws of another jurisdiction, as provided by Article VI of the Agreement Between Canada and the United States Respecting Unemployment Insurance, signed on March 6 and 12, 1942.

  • 1996, c. 23, s. 7
  • 1999, c. 31, s. 75(E)
  • 2001, c. 5, s. 4
  • 2009, c. 33, s. 3
  • 2016, c. 7, s. 209
  • 2021, c. 23, s. 303

Marginal note:Increase in required hours

  •  (1) The number of hours that an insured person requires under section 7 to qualify for benefits is increased to the number set out in the following table if the insured person accumulates one or more violations in the 260 weeks before making their initial claim for benefits.

    TABLE / TABLEAU

    Violation
    minor /

    mineure

    serious /

    grave

    very serious /

    très grave

    subsequent /

    subséquente

    525630735840
  • (2) [Repealed, 2016, c. 7, s. 210]

  • Marginal note:Deemed violation

    (2.1) A violation accumulated by an individual under section 152.07 is deemed to be a violation accumulated by the individual under this section on the day on which the notice of violation was given to the individual.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (3) A violation may not be taken into account under subsection (1) in more than two initial claims for benefits under this Act by an individual if the individual who accumulated the violation qualified for benefits in each of those two initial claims, taking into account subsection (1), subparagraph 152.07(1)(d)(ii) or regulations made under Part VIII, as the case may be.

  • Marginal note:Violations

    (4) An insured person accumulates a violation if in any of the following circumstances the Commission issues a notice of violation to the person:

    • (a) one or more penalties are imposed on the person under section 38, 39, 41.1 or 65.1, as a result of acts or omissions mentioned in section 38, 39 or 65.1;

    • (b) the person is found guilty of one or more offences under section 135 or 136 as a result of acts or omissions mentioned in those sections; or

    • (c) the person is found guilty of one or more offences under the Criminal Code as a result of acts or omissions relating to the application of this Act.

  • Marginal note:Classification of violations

    (5) Except for violations for which a warning was imposed, each violation is classified as a minor, serious, very serious or subsequent violation as follows:

    • (a) if the value of the violation is

      • (i) less than $1,000, it is a minor violation,

      • (ii) $1,000 or more, but less than $5,000, it is a serious violation, or

      • (iii) $5,000 or more, it is a very serious violation; and

    • (b) if the notice of violation is issued within 260 weeks after the person accumulates another violation, it is a subsequent violation, even if the acts or omissions on which it is based occurred before the person accumulated the other violation.

  • Marginal note:Value of violations

    (6) The value of a violation is the total of

    • (a) the amount of the overpayment of benefits resulting from the acts or omissions on which the violation is based, and

    • (b) if the claimant is disqualified or disentitled from receiving benefits, or the act or omission on which the violation is based relates to qualification requirements under section 7, the amount determined, subject to subsection (7), by multiplying the claimant’s weekly rate of benefit by the average number of weeks of regular benefits, as determined under the regulations.

  • Marginal note:Maximum

    (7) The maximum amount to be determined under paragraph (6)(b) is the amount of benefits that could have been paid to the claimant if the claimant had not been disentitled or disqualified or had met the qualification requirements under section 7.

Marginal note:Qualifying period

  •  (1) Subject to subsections (2) to (7), the qualifying period of an insured person is the shorter of

    • (a) the 52-week period immediately before the beginning of a benefit period under subsection 10(1), and

    • (b) the period that begins on the first day of an immediately preceding benefit period and ends with the end of the week before the beginning of a benefit period under subsection 10(1).

  • Marginal note:Extension of qualifying period

    (2) A qualifying period mentioned in paragraph (1)(a) is extended by the aggregate of any weeks during the qualifying period for which the person proves, in such manner as the Commission may direct, that throughout the week the person was not employed in insurable employment because the person was

    • (a) incapable of work because of a prescribed illness, injury, quarantine or pregnancy;

    • (b) confined in a jail, penitentiary or other similar institution and was not found guilty of the offence for which the person was being held or any other offence arising out of the same transaction;

    • (c) receiving assistance under an employment support measure other than one referred to in paragraph 59(c) or (d); or

    • (d) receiving payments under a provincial law on the basis of having ceased to work because continuing to work would have resulted in danger to the person, her unborn child or a child whom she was breast-feeding.

  • (3) [Repealed, 2021, c. 23, s. 305]

  • Marginal note:Further extension of qualifying period

    (4) A qualifying period is further extended by the aggregate of any weeks during an extension for which the person proves, in any manner that the Commission may direct, that the person was not employed in insurable employment because of a reason specified in subsection (2).

  • Marginal note:Period not counted if benefits received

    (5) For the purposes of subsections (2) and (4), a week during which the person was in receipt of benefits does not count.

  • (6) [Repealed, 2021, c. 23, s. 305]

  • Marginal note:Maximum extension of qualifying period

    (7) No extension under subsection (2) or (4) may result in a qualifying period of more than 104 weeks.

Benefit Period

Marginal note:Establishment of benefit period

 When an insured person who qualifies under section 7 or 7.1 makes an initial claim for benefits, a benefit period shall be established and, once it is established, benefits are payable to the person in accordance with this Part for each week of unemployment that falls in the benefit period.

Marginal note:Beginning of benefit period

  •  (1) A benefit period begins on the later of

    • (a) the Sunday of the week in which the interruption of earnings occurs, and

    • (b) the Sunday of the week in which the initial claim for benefits is made.

  • Marginal note:Length of benefit period

    (2) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (10) to (15) and section 24, the length of a benefit period is 52 weeks.

  • Marginal note:Prior benefit period

    (3) Subject to a change or cancellation of a benefit period under this section, a benefit period shall not be established for the claimant if a prior benefit period has not ended.

  • Marginal note:Late initial claims

    (4) An initial claim for benefits made after the day when the claimant was first qualified to make the claim shall be regarded as having been made on an earlier day if the claimant shows that the claimant qualified to receive benefits on the earlier day and that there was good cause for the delay throughout the period beginning on the earlier day and ending on the day when the initial claim was made.

  • Marginal note:Other late claims

    (5) A claim for benefits, other than an initial claim for benefits, made after the time prescribed for making the claim shall be regarded as having been made on an earlier day if the claimant shows that there was good cause for the delay throughout the period beginning on the earlier day and ending on the day when the claim was made.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (5.1) A claim for benefits referred to in section 23.1 with respect to a family member shall not be regarded as having been made on an earlier day under subsection (4) or (5) if

    • (a) at the time the claim is made, all benefits that may otherwise have been payable in relation to that claim have already been exhausted;

    • (b) the beginning of the period referred to in subsection 23.1(4) has already been determined with respect to that family member and the claim would have the effect of moving the beginning of that period to an earlier date; or

    • (c) the claim is made in any other circumstances set out in the regulations.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (5.2) A claim for benefits referred to in section 23.2 with respect to a critically ill child must not be regarded as having been made on an earlier day under subsection (4) or (5) if

    • (a) at the time the claim is made, all benefits that may otherwise have been payable in relation to that claim have already been exhausted;

    • (b) the beginning of the period referred to in subsection 23.2(3) has already been determined with respect to that child and the claim would have the effect of moving the beginning of that period to an earlier date; or

    • (c) the claim is made in any other circumstances set out in the regulations.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (5.3) A claim for benefits referred to in section 23.3 with respect to a critically ill adult must not be regarded as having been made on an earlier day under subsection (4) or (5) if

    • (a) at the time the claim is made, all benefits that may otherwise have been payable in relation to that claim have already been exhausted;

    • (b) the beginning of the period referred to in subsection 23.3(3) has already been determined with respect to that adult and the claim would have the effect of moving the beginning of that period to an earlier date; or

    • (c) the claim is made in any other circumstances set out in the regulations.

  • Marginal note:Cancelling benefit period

    (6) Once a benefit period has been established for a claimant, the Commission may

    • (a) cancel the benefit period if it has ended and no benefits were paid or payable during the period; or

    • (b) whether or not the period has ended, cancel at the request of the claimant that portion of the benefit period immediately before the first week for which benefits were paid or payable, if the claimant

      • (i) establishes under this Part, as an insured person, a new benefit period beginning the first week for which benefits were paid or payable or establishes, under Part VII.1, as a self-employed person within the meaning of subsection 152.01(1), a new benefit period beginning the first week for which benefits were paid or payable, and

      • (ii) shows that there was good cause for the delay in making the request throughout the period beginning on the day when benefits were first paid or payable and ending on the day when the request for cancellation was made.

  • Marginal note:Effect of cancellation

    (7) A cancelled benefit period or portion of a benefit period is deemed never to have begun.

  • Marginal note:End of benefit period

    (8) A benefit period ends when any of the following first occurs:

    • (a) no further benefits are payable to the claimant in their benefit period, including for the reason that benefits have been paid for the maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid under section 12;

    • (b) the benefit period would otherwise end under this section; or

    • (c) [Repealed, 2002, c. 9, s. 12]

    • (d) the claimant

      • (i) requests that their benefit period end,

      • (ii) makes a new initial claim for benefits under this Part or Part VII.1, and

      • (iii) qualifies, as an insured person, to receive benefits under this Part or qualifies, as a self-employed person within the meaning of subsection 152.01(1), to receive benefits under Part VII.1.

  • Marginal note:Late requests

    (9) Whether or not the benefit period has ended, a request under paragraph 8(d) shall be regarded as having been made on an earlier day if the claimant shows that there was good cause for the delay throughout the period beginning on the earlier day and ending on the day when the request was made.

  • Marginal note:Extension of benefit period

    (10) A claimant’s benefit period is extended by the aggregate of any weeks during the benefit period for which the claimant proves, in such manner as the Commission may direct, that the claimant was not entitled to benefits because the claimant was

    • (a) confined in a jail, penitentiary or other similar institution and was not found guilty of the offence for which the claimant was being held or any other offence arising out of the same transaction;

    • (b) [Repealed, 2021, c. 23, s. 306]

    • (c) in receipt of workers’ compensation payments for an illness or injury; or

    • (d) in receipt of payments under a provincial law on the basis of having ceased to work because continuing to work would have resulted in danger to the claimant, her unborn child or a child whom she was breast-feeding.

  • Marginal note:Further extension of benefit period

    (11) A claimant’s benefit period is extended by the aggregate of any weeks during an extension of a benefit period under subsection (10) for which the claimant proves, in such manner as the Commission may direct, that the claimant was not entitled to benefits because of a reason specified in that subsection.

  • Marginal note:Extension of benefit period — children in hospital

    (12) If the child or children referred to in subsection 23(1) are hospitalized during the period referred to in subsection 23(2), the benefit period is extended by the number of weeks during which the child or children are hospitalized.

  • Marginal note:Extension of benefit period — Canadian Forces

    (12.1) If, during the period referred to in subsection 23(2), the start date of a claimant’s period of parental leave is deferred or a claimant is directed to return to duty from parental leave, in accordance with regulations made under the National Defence Act, the benefit period is extended by the number of weeks during which the claimant’s parental leave is deferred or the claimant is directed to return to duty, as the case may be.

  • Marginal note:Extension of benefit period — special benefits

    (13) If, during a claimant’s benefit period,

    • (a) regular benefits were not paid to the claimant,

    • (b) benefits were paid to the claimant for more than one of the reasons mentioned in paragraphs 12(3)(a) to (f) and at least one of those benefits was paid for fewer than the applicable maximum number of weeks established for those reasons, and

    • (c) the maximum total number of weeks established for those reasons is greater than 50,

    the benefit period is extended so that those benefits may be paid up to that maximum total number of weeks.

  • Marginal note:Extension of benefit period — reason mentioned in paragraph 12(3)(b)

    (13.01) The benefit period is extended by 26 weeks so that benefits may be paid for the reason mentioned in paragraph 12(3)(b) up to the maximum number of weeks if, during a claimant’s benefit period,

    • (a) benefits were paid to the claimant for that reason and the applicable maximum number of weeks is established in subparagraph 12(3)(b)(ii);

    • (b) regular benefits were not paid to the claimant; and

    • (c) benefits were not paid for any reason mentioned in paragraph 12(3)(a), (c), (d), (e) or (f).

  • Marginal note:Extension of benefit period — regular and special benefits

    (13.02) If, during a claimant’s benefit period, regular benefits were paid, benefits were paid for the reason mentioned in paragraph 12(3)(b) in the case where the applicable maximum number of weeks is established under subparagraph 12(3)(b)(ii), and benefits were paid for fewer than the total number of weeks established under subsection 12(6) as determined under subsection 12(7), the benefit period is extended so that benefits may be paid up to that total number of weeks. The extension must not exceed 26 weeks.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (13.03) Only the regular benefits and benefits for any of the reasons mentioned in paragraphs 12(3)(a) to (f) that were paid during the claimant’s benefit period before it was extended under subsection (13.02) are payable during that extension.

  • (13.1) to (13.7) [Repealed, 2016, c. 7, s. 211]

  • Marginal note:Maximum extension under subsections (10) to (13.02)

    (14) An extension under one or more of subsections (10) to (13.02) must not result in a benefit period of more than 104 weeks.

  • (14.1) [Repealed, 2016, c. 7, s. 211]

  • Marginal note:Maximum extension under subsection (13)

    (15) Subject to subsection (14), unless the benefit period is also extended under any of subsections (10) to (12.1), an extension under subsection (13) must not result in a benefit period of more than the sum of two weeks and the total of the maximum number of weeks established under subsection 12(3) for each of the benefits paid to the claimant for one of the reasons mentioned in paragraphs 12(3)(a) to (f) during the claimant’s benefit period before it was extended under subsection (13).

  • 1996, c. 23, s. 10
  • 2002, c. 9, s. 12
  • 2003, c. 15, s. 16
  • 2009, c. 30, s. 1, c. 33, s. 5
  • 2010, c. 9, s. 2
  • 2012, c. 27, s. 13
  • 2013, c. 35, s. 2
  • 2016, c. 7, s. 211
  • 2017, c. 20, s. 230
  • 2021, c. 23, s. 306
 
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