I qualified for EI. What must I do to continue getting my benefits?

There have been changes to the EI system because of COVID-19. Since August 9, 2020, you require only 120 hours of insurable work to qualify for Special Benefits. This is expected to last for one year.

The government has announced that these reduced hours of insurable work will also apply to Regular Benefits, starting on September 27, but this could change. There will also be a new minimum EI payment of $400 per week starting on September 27, but this could also change.

For more information on changes to EI, see The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is ending. Will I be able to get Employment Insurance (EI)?

Once you qualify for Employment Insurance (EI), there are things you must do to continue getting your benefits. Different types of EI benefits have different obligations.

For regular benefits, you have to be available for work and actively looking for work. This includes:

  • making child care arrangements in order to work or look for work 
  • providing a record of your job search when asked
  • following up on job referrals from Service Canada staff
  • participating in training programs and other activities that Service Canada staff have approved for you

You should always meet with Service Canada staff when asked, and send Service Canada your weekly reports about any income you receive. The reports show Service Canada staff if you still qualify for EI or if you no longer qualify.

Give true information

It is against the law to knowingly give false or misleading information in connection with an EI claim. Some examples of this are:

  • not telling the Service Canada staff about all of your earnings
  • lying about being available for work
  • changing information on your

Penalties for knowingly giving false or misleading information can be very serious. You will have to pay back all the EI money you should not have received. You might have to pay up to 3 times your weekly benefit for every false statement that you made. And criminal charges can be laid against you.

Service Canada staff can also give you a “notice of violation”. Violations stay on your EI record for almost 5 years. When a violation is on your record, you have to work hundreds of extra insurable hours to qualify for a new claim.

If you have received a penalty or notice of violation, you have the right to ask EI to reconsider the decision. You must ask in writing within 30 days of first finding out about the penalty or violation.

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