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What is Employment Insurance (EI)?

If you lose your job, you might be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). It provides temporary financial assistance while you look for work or upgrade your skills.

In the past, this program was called "unemployment insurance."

If you are are sick, pregnant or caring for a newborn or adopted child, or if you must care for a family member who is seriously ill with a significant risk of death, you may qualify for Employment Insurance.

Employment Insurance is run by the Government of Canada.

Income Assistance

Employment Insurance provides temporary income support while you look for work, or while you cannot work. There are different types of benefits, for example:

  • Regular benefits - If you lose your job through no fault of your own.
  • Special benefits - These include:
    • Maternity and parental benefits - If you are pregnant, or if you are a mother or father caring for a newborn baby or adopted child.
    • Sickness benefits - If you are sick, injured or in quarantine.
    • Compassionate care benefits - If you have to take time off work to care for a very sick family member.

Who is eligible?

The requirements depends on where you live and what kind of benefits you apply for.

For more information, go to Am I eligible for Employment Insurance (EI)?

How long does EI last?

The amount of time that you can get benefits depends on a few different factors. For more information, go to How long can I get Employment Insurance (EI)?

For More Information

  • Employment Insurance (EI) - Official information about EI. From Service Canada.
  • EI Regular Benefits - Describes what the regular benefits are, who is eligible and how to apply. From Service Canada.
  • EI Special Benefits - Describes maternity, parental and sickness benefits, who is eligible and how to apply. From Service Canada.
  • EI Benefits for Self-Employed People - Information about who is eligible, how to apply and types of benefits. From Service Canada.
  • Employment Insurance - This booklet has clear language information about Employment Insurance. From CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario).
  • Have you been fired or laid off? - If you have been fired or laid off with no notice, or no pay, your employer may be breaking the law. Find out about your rights. This pamphlet is about your rights under the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA). From CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario).
Last Updated: January 18, 2012
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