Federal Income Supports

Last updated: 2021 09 29

The employment insurance system has been amended as of 2021 09 26. Many of the key changes will only apply to new claims for benefits made beginning 2021 09 26 and are still related to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (2021 09 29)

Summary of temporary measures to help Canadians access EI benefits until September 24, 2022

  • 420 hours of work required to qualify
  • Minimum benefit rate of $300 per week

You can receive EI from 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate in your region at the time of filing your claim and the amount of insurable hours you've accumulated in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim, whichever is shorter. (2021 09 29)








I have heard that the hours needed to qualify for EI Regular Benefit and EI Special Benefits have been reduced. Is this correct?

Access to EI benefits is normally based on the number of insurable hours an individual has worked in the year prior to their application, or since their last claim. This is known as their qualifying period. However, the Government of Canada recognizes that the pandemic has prevented many Canadians from accumulating the number of insurable hours that is normally required. To help individuals qualify with a minimum of 120 hours of work, EI claimants need to have accumulated 420 hours of insurable employment during their qualifying period to eligible for EI benefits until Sept. 24, 2022.  (2021 09 29) 


Is there any change to the Minimum Benefit Rate?

As of September 24, 2021 new EI claimants will receive a minimum benefit rate of $300 per week (or $180 for extended parental benefits), if this is higher than what their benefits would otherwise be.

The EI benefit rate is typically based on a worker’s average weekly earnings before their EI claim. However, the COVID-19 pandemic may have had a negative impact on a worker’s weekly earnings either because they lost their job or saw their hours of work reduced. The minimum benefit rate of $300 will reduce the negative impact on EI benefit rates for these workers and align with the weekly benefit rate for the new Canada Recovery Benefit. (2021 09 29) 


I am an expectant mother who will not have 600 insurable hours of teaching. Can I still qualify for Federal benefits? 

If you are an expectant mother looking to take maternity/parental leave who does not have 600 hours of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary changes to the EI program will allow you qualify for EI maternity and parental benefits with a minimum 420 hours of work. (2021 09 29) 


I read that the one-week waiting period for (EI) maternity benefits. How will this impact my benefits?

Before you start receiving benefits, there is 1 week for which you won't be paid federal benefits. This is called the waiting period. It's like the deductible that you pay for other types of insurance. During this period, you employer will pay your full salary. If you apply for both Employment Insurance (EI) maternity and parental benefits, you only need to serve the waiting period once. If you're sharing parental benefits for the same child, only 1 parent will serve the waiting period.  (2021 09 29)


What it the Canada Recovery Benefit?

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Depending on when you start applying for the CRB, you can either receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) or $600 ($540 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period. 

If your situation continues, you will need to apply again. You may apply for up to a total of 27 eligibility periods (54 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and October 23, 2021. (2021 09 29)

I am a substitute teacher, what happens if I am unable to work because I am sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19? 

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits can provide you with up to 15 weeks of financial assistance if you can't work for medical reasons. You could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $595 a week.

If your claim starts between September 26, 2021 and November 20, 2021, you’ll receive at least $300 per week before taxes, but you could receive more.

You must get a medical certificate to show that you’re unable to work for medical reasons. Medical reasons include illness, injury, quarantine or any medical condition that prevents you from working.   (2021 09 29)


If my child’s daycare closes to prevent the spread of COVID 19, I would not be able to continue to teach. Is there Federal support for me?

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

If you are eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period.

If your situation continues, you will need to apply again. Each household may apply for up to a total of 42 weeks between September 27, 2020 and October 23, 2021. (2021 09 29)


How do I apply for one of the new Federal Support Programs?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers these benefits, and teachers are able to apply at: Employment Insurance benefits - Canada.ca  (2021 09 29)