As announced in Budget 2021, temporary measures under the Employment Insurance (EI) program came into effect on September 26, 2021. These measures will be in place for a one-year period from September 26, 2021, until September 24, 2022, and include:

Implementing a uniform entrance requirement of 420 insurable hours of employment for EI regular and special benefits;

Ensuring that all insurable hours of employment count towards a claimant’s eligibility, as long as their last job separation is found to be valid; and

Allowing claimants to start receiving EI benefits sooner by simplifying rules around the treatment of severance, vacation pay, and other monies paid on separation.

Seasonal workers in the 13 economic regions that were previously part of the EI Seasonal Worker Pilot Project will continue to benefit from an additional 5 weeks of EI regular benefits until October 2022.

Additionally, as of September 26, 2021, the following temporary measures implemented on September 27, 2020, as part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan are no longer in effect:

  • The temporary minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% that was applied to all EI economic regions to support the use of a one-time hours credit to determine eligibility for benefits no longer applies.
    • The EI Program will go back to using the regional unemployment rate when calculating the duration and benefit rates for new EI claims established on or after September 26, 2021.
  • The one-time hours credit for accessing EI benefits is no longer being used.
  • The $500 minimum benefit rate no longer applies for new claims.
    • For EI claims established between September 26, 2021, and November 20, 2021, there will be a minimum weekly benefit rate of $300, matching the current rate paid under the Canada Recovery Benefit for new claimants.
  • The temporary waiver of the waiting period put in place during the COVID-19 period, which enabled individuals to be paid for the first week of unemployment no longer applies.
    • EI claimants will once again have a one-week period for which they are not paid.
  • The temporary waiver of the requirement for a medical certificate established during the COVID-19 period no longer applies.
    • Workers must once again obtain a medical certificate to prove they are sick and unable to work, in order to access EI sickness benefits.