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Regular Employment Insurance Benefits and COVID-19

This is the second in a series of employment related articles by Mirowski Law that will cover work related issues during the pandemic. This is an informational article and not legal advice.


Do I Qualify for Regular Employment Insurance Benefits?


Regular employment insurance benefits differ from sickness benefits. A separate article about sickness benefits will be posted soon. Sickness benefits cover illness, injury or quarantine while regular benefits cover job losses such as termination and lay-offs.


Many employees pay into the Employment Insurance program in Canada. You will know this by the deductions taken off your paycheque. In order to qualify, a calculation will be made based on:

  • the 52-week period immediately before the start date of your claim; or

  • the period from the start of a previous benefit period to the start of your new benefit period, if you applied for benefits earlier and your application was approved in the last 52 weeks;

  • and there are some exceptions to the 52-week period, so it is always best to apply


Does it Matter if I was Fired, Laid-off or Quit?


Yes. If you were terminated for cause (you did something that caused your termination) then you are most likely not eligible. NOTE** If you were terminated for cause or terminated at all, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer to determine if the termination was lawful.


Employees access employment insurance when they have lost a job without cause. For example, you were terminated from your position due to restructuring or your employer provided you with a layoff notice due to shortage of work. Employment insurance will start to cover you after the exhaustion of any payments made to you by the employer for a notice period, called termination pay and/or severance pay.


It is always advisable to apply for employment insurance immediately. In order to determine if you qualify for regular employment insurance benefits, you will need to have the following information available to you:

  • Your last paystub or Record of Employment (ROE) for each employer in the last 52 weeks

  • If not available, the name and address of your employer + your start and end date

  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

  • Your mailing address and banking information for direct deposit

The online application may take you up to an hour to complete but it is clear and straightforward. If you are approved, you will want the funds directly deposited to your bank account.


Please note that the online application systems are overburdened. Do not panic if you cannot apply. Try again later.


What if I am not Approved?


There are a few reasons why you may not be approved which include:

  • Missing or incorrect information

  • Failing to meet the necessary qualifying hours

If you are not approved for regular employment insurance benefits, you may be entitled to the Emergency Funding just announced by the Federal government. Mirowski Law will be preparing another article dealing with this funding shortly.


For more information about employment related issues, contact info@mirowskilaw.ca

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