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Firings & Layoffs

Losing a Job: Firings and Layoffs

Unemployment benefits

If you were laid off, you qualify for Employment Insurance if:
  • You've had no work or pay for at least 7 days in a row.
  • You've worked the required number of insurable hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim. This requirement can be high. It depends on where you live, the unemployment rate in your area, how long you've been out of the workforce, whether you're a new worker, and if you've used the program before.

Regional unemployment rate -- Insurable hours (required in the last 52 weeks)
0% to 6% -- 700 hours
6.1% to 7% -- 665 hours
7.1% to 8% -- 630 hours
8.1% to 9% -- 595 hours
9.1% to 10% -- 560 hours
10.1% to 11% -- 525 hours
11.1% to 12% -- 490 hours
12.1% to 13% -- 455 hours
13.1% and over - 420 hours
Source: Human Resources Development Canada

In some instances, a minimum of 910 hours in the qualifying period may be needed to be eligible. For example:
  • if you are in the work force for the first time
  • if you are re-entering the work force after an absence of two years; however, if you have received at least one week of maternity or parental benefits in the 208 weeks preceding the 52-week period prior to the qualifying period, you will require between 420 and 700 hours to qualify for regular benefits.
  • violations from previous EI claims may also increase the number of hours required to qualify for EI benefits.

What if I quit or was fired?

You can't get benefits if you were fired for misconduct or simply chose to quit.

But Employment Insurance pays benefits for people who quit their jobs for certain specific reasons:
  • Harassment.
  • Discrimination.
  • Working conditions that risk your health and safety.
  • Major changes in workload.
  • Poor relations with your boss that aren't your fault.
  • Your boss is breaking the law.
  • Your family is moving to another place.
  • Your boss or your co-workers pressured you into quitting.
  • By quitting, you saved someone else's job.

However, you can't use your insurance until you prove you had a good reason to quit.

How much will I get?

The basic benefits are 55% of your average insured earnings up to $413 a week. EI benefits are taxable income.

You might receive more if your family income is under $25,921 a year, you have children and you or your spouse get the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB).

You can get regular benefits from 14 to a maximum 45 weeks.

How do I apply for beneftits?

Contact your local Human Resources Centre.

You can also get help from an unemployed workers' help centre. If you live in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan or Qu├ębec, see if there's a help centre in your area.

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