ent® Chartered Professional Accountants Blog

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COVID 19 – The Employment Insurance (E.I.) Measures

The largest number of questions we have received is for clarification of the E.I. measures. We are expecting further clarification from the Federal Government. As of today here is our best understanding:

Employment Insurance -Temporary Laid-off Benefit

This is the regular E.I. benefit that is always available to employees who have been laid off. Employees must have a minimum of 700 insurable hours; a one-week waiting period; the benefit is 55% to a maximum of $573.00 per week to a max of 45 weeks. You can apply prior to the employer issuing an ROE.

Employment Insurance- Sickness/Illness including Quarantine

The employee must have 600 insurable hours. No waiting period. Benefit: 55% to a maximum of $573.00 per week for a maximum of 15 weeks. You can apply prior to the employer issuing an ROE.

Employment Insurance - Emergency Care Benefit

Provides for up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks for employees without sufficient insurable hours. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:

3 categories of individuals:

1. Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for E.I. sickness benefits.

2. Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for E.I. sickness benefits.

3. Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for E.I. or not.

How to apply for all E.I. Benefits


Employment Insurance -Emergency Support Benefit

For the support of workers who are not eligible for E.I. and who are facing unemployment

  • Implementing the E.I. Work Sharing Program, which provides E.I. benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers. The CRA response to COVID 19 has extended the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks.

How do Work-Sharing Benefits work?

The program allows employers to temporarily reduce its employee's work schedule, by providing the employee with a portion of their reduced income.

The program is an agreement between 3 parties: 1) Employer; 2) Employee; and 3) Service Canada.

The employer and employee must agree to participate in the WS agreement. The application is then sent to Service Canada.


Who is Eligible?

Eligible employers must:

Have been in business in Canada year-round for at least two years;

Be a private business, a publicly held company, or a not-for-profit organization;

Demonstrate that the shortage of work is temporary and beyond their control, and demonstrate a recent decrease in business activity of approx. 10%;

Eligible employees must:

Be “core employees” (i.e. year-round, permanent full-time or part-time employees, who carry out the everyday functions of normal business);

Be eligible to receive EI benefits i.e. 600 insurable hours, and have paid EI premiums; and, agree to a reduction of their normal working hours and be part of a work-sharing unit.

The unit should not include employees who are necessary for business’ recovery, such as senior management, outside sales representatives etc.

The Federal Government’s special measures recently implemented in light of COVID-19 include:

Waiving the mandatory waiting period;

Support of workers who are not eligible for E.I. and who are facing unemployment.

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