Working While On EI – Can You Work While on EI? Employment Insurance

In Canada, if you are receiving EI (Employment Insurance), you need to be actively looking for work so if you do get work, and it pays less than the position that you are trying to replace, you may still be eligible to receive a portion of your maximum benefit.

You are entitled to keep 50 cents of your EI benefits for every dollar you earn until you reach 90% of your previous earnings. Beyond this threshold your benefits are reduced on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

How much do I get paid on EI?

Most employees are eligible to receive EI benefits equivalent to 55% of their average weekly earnings, up to the maximum benefit amount of $638 per week. For most people, the basic rate for calculating Employment Insurance (EI) benefits is 55% of their average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. 

How many hours can you work while on EI?

There is no hard and fast rule, it is based on earnings rather time actually spent at work. However, in order to be eligible to receive EI you need to establish that you are: (1) available to accept work; and (2) looking for work. As a result, beyond a certain point you may get into a catch 22 situation.

Can I apply for EI if my hours are reduced?

No, unfortunately, you are not eligible for EI if your employer reduces your hours. In order to qualify for EI you need to establish that you have either lost your job, or that you are unable to work due to a specific life event such as pregnancy, parental leave, critical care leave, or caring for an


Most employees terminated in Canada are eligible to receive EI, temporary income support through the federal employment insurance program. It provides employees, terminated on a without cause basis, or who have been placed on a temporary layoff, with a temporary wage replacement benefit that covers a portion of their prior weekly earnings up to a maximum of $638 per week.

Benefits are also available for workers who have to take time off work due to specific life events such as (pregnancy, parental leave, critical care leave, or caring for an immediate family member). 

In order to receive EI, you must demonstrate that you have lost your job, or are temporarily unable to work, through no fault of your own. You must also have worked the requisite number of insurable hours since your last claim period, and be ready and able to accept work. 

Within seven days of the termination of your employment, your employer must issue a Record of Employment (ROE), that indicates your hours worked up to the date you ceased to be actively employed, and along with the reasons for your dismissal.

For more details on EI go to Government of Canada’s website EI regular benefits: What these benefits offer

If you are a worker who has been terminated or wrongfully dismissed, please contact us at Monkhouse Law Employment Lawyers. Monkhouse Law is an employment law firm in Toronto with a focus on workers’ issues.

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