Canadian Employment Insurance Rules

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Once you've applied for Canadian Employment Insurance, here's information on how it works, the rules to follow and the claimants reports to submit in order to receive Canadian Employment Insurance benefits.

Response to Employment Insurance Application

You'll find out usually within 28 days of the start date of your Employment Insurance claim if your claim has been rejected and why.

If your Employment Insurance claim is accepted, you should receive your first Employment Insurance benefits payment within 28 days of the start date of your claim.

Employment Insurance Waiting Period

There is a two-week waiting period before Employment Insurance benefits are paid. Any money earned in those two weeks is deducted from the first three weeks of benefits.

Access Code

Once you apply for Employment Insurance, you will receive an Access Code to use when making inquiries or when filing claimants reports. You will also need to use your Social Insurance Number for these activities.

You can make inquiries by phone, but for anything more than simple questions it may be more efficient to go to the nearest Service Canada office and sort it out in person. You will get quicker answers and are more likely to get assistance on how to proceed.

Employment Insurance Rules

In order to receive Employment Insurance benefits, you are required to do the following:

  • Be willing and able to work
  • Look for work and keep records of the employers you have contacted and when you contacted them
  • Report all money earned when on Employment Insurance, including self-employment earnings
  • Submit claimants reports on schedule
  • Report when you are not available for work
  • Report any absence from your area of residence.

Employment Insurance Claimants Reports

Soon after you apply for Employment Insurance benefits, and before you know if your claim is accepted or not, you'll get a letter with a Benefits Statement telling you when your first claimants report is due.

The claimants reports system is online across Canada and gives you the option of filing your claimants reports using the Internet Reporting Service. You will receive instructions on how to use this service with your Benefits Statement.

Employment Insurance also has a Telephone Reporting Service that lets you submit claimants reports using a touch-tone phone. The telephone reporting system informs you when your claimants reports are due and asks you to respond to a series of questions. When your claimants report is completed using the telephone service, your Employment Insurance payment is deposited directly to your bank account two business days later.

If you are hearing impaired or don't have access to a touch-tone phone, claimants reports can be submitted by mail.

Income Taxes and EI Benefits

Depending on your net income for the year, you may be required to repay some or all of the Employment Insurance benefits you receive. Calculations and repayment are made when you file your income tax return for the year.