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

Act current to 2022-11-16 and last amended on 2022-09-25. Previous Versions

PART IUnemployment Benefits (continued)

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) in receipt of earnings paid because of the complete severance of their relationship with their former employer;

    • (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

Marginal note:Week of unemployment

  •  (1) A week of unemployment for a claimant is a week in which the claimant does not work a full working week.

  • Marginal note:Exception — no duties to perform

    (2) A week during which a claimant’s contract of service continues and in respect of which the claimant receives or will receive their usual remuneration for a full working week is not a week of unemployment, even though the claimant may be excused from performing their normal duties or does not have any duties to perform at that time.

  • Marginal note:Exception — leave with deferred remuneration

    (3) A week or part of a week during a period of leave from employment is not a week of unemployment if the employee

    • (a) takes the period of leave under an agreement with their employer;

    • (b) continues to be an employee of the employer during the period; and

    • (c) receives remuneration that was set aside during a period of work, regardless of when it is paid.

  • Marginal note:Exception — compensatory leave

    (4) An insured person is deemed to have worked a full working week during each week that falls wholly or partly in a period of leave if

    • (a) in each week the insured person regularly works a greater number of hours, days or shifts than are normally worked in a week by persons employed in full-time employment; and

    • (b) the person is entitled to the period of leave under an employment agreement to compensate for the extra time worked.

Payment of Benefits

Marginal note:Benefits

  •  (1) If a benefit period has been established for a claimant, benefits may be paid to the claimant for each week of unemployment that falls in the benefit period, subject to the maximums established by this section.

  • Marginal note:General maximum

    (2) The maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid in a benefit period because of a reason other than those mentioned in subsection (3) shall be determined in accordance with the table in Schedule I by reference to the regional rate of unemployment that applies to the claimant and the number of hours of insurable employment of the claimant in their qualifying period.

  • Marginal note:General maximum — exception

    (2.1) Despite subsection (2), the maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid in a benefit period because of a reason other than those mentioned in subsection (3) to a claimant whose benefit period begins during the period beginning on September 27, 2020 and ending on September 25, 2021 is 50.

  • Marginal note:Non-application

    (2.2) Subsection (2.1) does not apply to a claimant under the Employment Insurance (Fishing) Regulations.

  • Marginal note:General maximum — exception for seasonal workers

    (2.3) Despite subsection (2), the maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid in a benefit period to a claimant because of a reason other than those mentioned in subsection (3) shall be determined in accordance with the table set out in Schedule V by reference to the regional rate of unemployment that applies to the claimant and the number of hours of insurable employment of the claimant in their qualifying period if

    • (a) the following conditions are met:

      • (i) the date on which a benefit period for the claimant is established falls within the period beginning on September 26, 2021 and ending on October 28, 2023,

      • (ii) on the date on which the benefit period is established, the claimant is ordinarily resident in a region described in Schedule VI,

      • (iii) in the 260 weeks before the date on which the benefit period referred to in subparagraph (i) begins, at least three benefit periods were established during which regular benefits were paid or payable, and

      • (iv) at least two of the benefit periods referred to in subparagraph (iii) began around the same time of year as the benefit period referred to in subparagraph (i) began; or

    • (b) the conditions referred to in subparagraphs (a)(i) and (ii) are met and the claimant had met the criteria set out in paragraphs 77.992(2)(b) to (d) of the Employment Insurance Regulations — taking into account subsections 77.992(3) and (4) of those Regulations — in respect of a benefit period established for the claimant on a date within the period referred to in paragraph 77.992(2)(a) of those Regulations.

  • Marginal note:Establishment of benefit period — presumption

    (2.4) For the purposes of subparagraph (2.3)(a)(iii), a claimant’s benefit period established before the beginning of the 260-week period is considered to have been established within the 260-week period if the claimant received a notification of payment or non-payment with respect to any week that falls within that 260-week period.

  • Marginal note:Beginning of benefit period — presumption

    (2.5) For the purposes of subparagraph (2.3)(a)(iv), a benefit period in a previous year is considered to have begun around the same time of year if it began during the period that begins eight weeks before and ends eight weeks after the week that is

    • (a) 52 weeks before the first week of the benefit period referred to in subparagraph (2.3)(a)(i);

    • (b) 104 weeks before the first week of the benefit period referred to in subparagraph (2.3)(a)(i);

    • (c) 156 weeks before the first week of the benefit period referred to in subparagraph (2.3)(a)(i);

    • (d) 208 weeks before the first week of the benefit period referred to in subparagraph (2.3)(a)(i); or

    • (e) 260 weeks before the first week of the benefit period referred to in subparagraph (2.3)(a)(i).

  • (2.6) to (2.8) [Repealed, 2016, c. 7, s. 212]

  • Marginal note:Maximum — special benefits

    (3) The maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid in a benefit period

    • (a) because of pregnancy is 15;

    • (b) because the claimant is caring for one or more new-born children of the claimant or one or more children placed with the claimant for the purpose of adoption is, in accordance with the election under section 23,

      • (i) 35, or

      • (ii) 61;

    • (c) because of a prescribed illness, injury or quarantine is 15;

    • (d) because the claimant is providing care or support to one or more family members described in subsection 23.1(2) is 26;

    • (e) because the claimant is providing care or support to one or more critically ill children described in subsection 23.2(1), is 35; and

    • (f) because the claimant is providing care or support to one or more critically ill adults described in subsection 23.3(1) is 15.

  • Marginal note:Maximum — special benefits

    (4) The maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid

    • (a) for a single pregnancy is 15; and

    • (b) for the care of one or more new-born or adopted children as a result of a single pregnancy or placement is,

      • (i) if the maximum number of weeks that has been elected under subsection 23(1.1) is established under subparagraph (3)(b)(i), 35 or, if the weeks for which benefits may be paid are divided in accordance with section 23, 40, or

      • (ii) if the maximum number of weeks that has been elected under subsection 23(1.1) is established under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii), 61 or, if the weeks for which benefits may be paid are divided in accordance with section 23, 69.

  • Marginal note:Maximum — parental benefits

    (4.01) If a claim is made under this Part in respect of a child or children referred to in paragraph (4)(b) and a claim is made under section 152.05 in respect of the same child or children, the maximum number of weeks of benefits payable under this Act in respect of the child or children is,

    • (a) if the maximum number of weeks that has been elected under subsection 23(1.1) is established under subparagraph (3)(b)(i), 35 or, if the weeks for which benefits may be paid are divided in accordance with section 23, 40; or

    • (b) if the maximum number of weeks that has been elected under subsection 23(1.1) is established under subparagraph (3)(b)(ii), 61 or, if the weeks for which benefits may be paid are divided in accordance with section 23, 69.

  • Marginal note:Maximum — compassionate care benefits

    (4.1) Even if more than one claim is made under this Act, at least one of which is made under section 23.1 — or even if more than one certificate is issued for the purposes of this Act, at least one of which is issued for the purposes of section 23.1 — for the same reason and in respect of the same family member, the maximum number of weeks of benefits payable under this Act in respect of that family member is 26 weeks during the period of 52 weeks that begins on the first day of the week referred to in paragraph 23.1(4)(a).

  • Marginal note:Shorter period

    (4.2) If a shorter period is prescribed for the purposes of subsection 23.1(5), then that shorter period applies for the purposes of subsection (4.1).

  • Marginal note:Expiration of shorter period

    (4.3) When a shorter period referred to in subsection (4.2) has expired in respect of a family member, no further benefits are payable under section 23.1 in respect of that family member until the minimum prescribed number of weeks has elapsed.

  • Marginal note:Maximum — critically ill child

    (4.4) Even if more than one claim is made under this Act, at least one of which is made under section 23.2 — or even if more than one certificate is issued for the purposes of this Act, at least one of which is issued for the purposes of section 23.2 — for the same reason and in respect of the same critically ill child, the maximum number of weeks of benefits payable under this Act in respect of that child is 35 weeks during the period of 52 weeks that begins on the first day of the week referred to in paragraph 23.2(3)(a).

  • Marginal note:Maximum — critically ill adult

    (4.5) Even if more than one claim is made under this Act, at least one of which is made under section 23.3 — or even if more than one certificate is issued for the purposes of this Act, at least one of which is issued for the purposes of section 23.3 — for the same reason and in respect of the same critically ill adult, the maximum number of weeks of benefits payable under this Act in respect of that adult is 15 weeks during the period of 52 weeks that begins on the first day of the week referred to in paragraph 23.3(3)(a).

  • Marginal note:Combined weeks of benefits

    (5) In a claimant’s benefit period, the claimant may combine weeks of benefits to which they are entitled because of a reason mentioned in subsection (3), but the maximum number of combined weeks is 50. If the benefit period is extended under subsection 10(13), the maximum number of combined weeks equals the maximum number of weeks in the benefit period calculated under subsection 10(15) less two weeks.

  • Marginal note:Combined weeks of benefits

    (6) In a claimant’s benefit period, the claimant may, subject to the applicable maximums, combine weeks of benefits to which the claimant is entitled under subsection (2), (2.1) or (2.3) and because of a reason mentioned in subsection (3), but the total number of weeks of benefits shall not exceed 50.

  • Marginal note:Determination — total number of weeks

    (7) For the purpose of determining whether the total number of weeks of benefits established under subsection (6) has been reached, in the case where benefits have been paid for the reason mentioned in paragraph 12(3)(b) and the applicable maximum number of weeks is established under subparagraph 12(3)(b)(ii),

    • (a) the number of weeks of benefits that were paid for the reason mentioned in paragraph 12(3)(b) is converted to the number of weeks of benefits that would have been paid at a rate of weekly benefits of 55%, as set out in the table in Schedule IV; and

    • (b) other than the weeks referred to in subsections 10(10) to (12.1) in respect of which the benefit period is extended and the week referred to in section 13, the weeks for which no benefits were paid are deemed to be weeks for which benefits were paid at a rate of weekly benefits of 55%.

  • Marginal note:Adoption

    (8) For the purposes of this section, the placement with a major attachment claimant, at the same or substantially the same time, of two or more children for the purpose of adoption is a single placement of a child or children for the purpose of adoption.

 
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