06 Oct Changes to Employment Insurance Rules in Canada Due to the Pandemic
As employees continue to face ongoing hurdles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government has been trying to create strategies to reduce the strain. On September 26, 2021, changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) rules were initiated to help the temporarily unemployed.
What is Employment Insurance or EI?
Employment Insurance, also known as EI, is income that is available to those who are temporarily unemployed so as they search for new work or expand their expertise, they can do so with less financial stress. For the unemployed worker to collect EI, they must have been terminated based on reasons not related to their personal behaviour or wrongdoings.
What has changed?
The eligibility to receive EI has shifted. Because workers are being laid-off or terminated more often during the pandemic, the hours they must work to be eligible for EI has been reduced. Previously, the employee could only receive EI if they had worked over 600 hours with their previous employer. Now, employees must work at least 420 hours to be eligible for EI. This rule will be applicable until September 24, 2022.
The weekly floor on benefits has been reduced. For those who will apply for claims between September 26 and November 20, 2021, benefits will be reduced from $500 to $300. Further, the regulations governing severance and vacation payments may become simplified for people to receive these benefits sooner.
What rules will continue?
As stated above, the reduction of benefits applies to those who will apply for claims between September 26 and November 20, 2021. Therefore, those who have a current EI claim that they applied for before September 26, 2021, will not be affected by these changes.
The five extra weeks of EI regular benefits granted to seasonal workers will remain until October 2022.
If you have any questions about how these changes in Employment Insurance impact you, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.