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What is Employment Insurance?

What is Employment Insurance?

Employees receive several perks and allowances as benefits for doing a full-time job. 'Employment Insurance' is an umbrella compensation package that acts like a buffer when an employee is not able to provide his services, and therefore, loses certain employment benefits. Let's understand more about this program.
Gaynor Borade
Employment Insurance is designed keeping in mind the difficulties faced by employees. The most probable application of this benefit is the support and relief that it extends to those who are temporarily unemployed. These people could either be in between jobs, dealing with sickness, childbirth or parenting, or even providing critical care and support to a family member facing the risk of death. In such trying and difficult times, this program comes as a saving grace and empowers the individual to go through the phase more confidently.

Who Benefits from This?

It is essential to remember that you can apply for this benefit only if you have paid into the account and are dealing with a temporary unemployment. You stand to benefit if you can prove to the authorities that you lost your job through no fault of your own. Such a situation could arise due to shortage of work, or even seasonal or management declared 'breaks' or mass layoffs. You can also benefit monetarily while dealing with a maternity or parental break in employment, or if you are ill and unable to work. Interestingly, you are also liable to receive 'fishing benefits' if you are engaged in fishing. You can also claim compassionate care benefit, if you are dealing with an unavoidable break in employment to provide care or support to an ailing family member.


If you have an old insurance account that has lapsed, you need to first reactivate this account. If there is a claim on record within the last 52 weeks, the reactivation should not be an issue, depending on the individual case and the analysis. In case of reactivation, you need to submit an online application for the same. This can be done 24/7 from any Internet access point.

First, submit an application for the insurance-online or personally-at the nearest employee service center. This is the most essential step, irrespective of whether or not you received or expect to receive money when unemployed, or if you have misplaced or lost your Record of Employment (ROE). You should request for the ROE from your previous employer. However, even if the records covering prior employment are not traceable, you should still submit your claim, while attempting to get the records in order. There are special agents who take care of the whole procedure and even calculate your claim amount. You should ideally apply as soon as you stop working. Remember, filing the claim beyond a month after your last working day, could result in a loss of benefits.


You need to keep in place certain documents when you file for the insurance benefit. These include your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and the ROE. In case of the former, you may have to furnish a proof of immigration status and work permit, if necessary. Whereas the latter has to be available for each job held over a period of at least 52 weeks. You will also have to produce a personal identification proof such as your driver's license, birth certificate, or passport, and the bank information. This ensures direct payment into your bank account.

In case of a claim for sickness benefit, you are required to produce a medical certificate specifying the duration of your incapacity to work. You are also expected to maintain and produce proof of your total salary before deductions, including commissions and gross amounts received or still payable to you, like allowances for vacation, severance, pension, etc.