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Being out of a job is an undesirable predicament to be in. The recently unemployed face the same concerns: When will I find another job? How will I pay the bills in the meantime? Do I qualify for employment insurance?
It is important to be aware of the benefits available to you when you are unemployed. While it is important to actively search for jobs, it is also important to ensure you will be able to maintain financial stability during the job search process.
Employment insurance is available to employees who:
-have paid premiums into the Employment Insurance Account,
-have lost their job without cause;
-have been without work and without pay for at least one week in the last 52 weeks;
-have worked for the required number of insurable hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of their last EI claim, whichever is shorter;
-capable of work and willing to work; and
-are actively looking for work (proven via a log citing employers and the date that they were contacted)
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for Employment Insurance on the Service Canada website.
Getting EI and negotiating severance
If you negotiate a severance package then you will have to repay any EI which was received during this time. You should still apply for EI if you are having a lawyer negotiate your severance however, but see this as being an interest-free loan from the government that you will have to pay back later.
As well, your EI should be elongated by the amount of time that you have to pay back even if you do have to pay it back, so nothing is lost from your perspective.
In some cases you might not be eligible for EI. This happens when employees have been terminated with just cause, are on strike, or left the company voluntarily are ineligible for employment insurance.
In this case you can still apply for EI but service Canada is more likely to decline to cover you. They will look at all the factors surrounding your leaving the company: If terminated, had you had a previous record of non-compliance? Had you ever been given warnings or indications that your behaviour would lead to termination? If you quit, did you do so due to your working conditions or co-workers?
In addition you may have a legal remedy available to you.
Many individuals are fired without cause, or are pushed into quitting (this is called constructive dismissal). The courts have remedies available for these injustices, and a lawyer can assist you in regaining your professional reputation and financial stability. Should you be able to establish that an injustice in this regard has occurred, A lawyer may be able to help you:
-get a reissuance of your Record of Employment (ROE) so that you are eligible for Employment Insurance;
-get a retraction from the employer and a reference letter;
-get a reinstatement within the company;
-get additional pay and/or notice.
Contact an Employment Lawyer
If you believe that you have prevented from collecting EI because you have been terminated without cause or have been constructively dismissed, contact us to discuss your options.