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EI Update – September 2021

Richard B. Johnson

Co-Founder + Partner
September 29, 2021

In 2020, Canada’s Employment Insurance (“EI”) program underwent a number of temporary changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact on employment.

As of September 2021, some of those measures have ended. Service Canada has introduced new rules that will be in place between September 26, 2021 and September 24, 2022.

The Changes

Some of these changes include:

  • New claims after September 26, 2021 will once again use the actual regional unemployment rates as produced by Statistics Canada, instead of the minimum rate of 13.1% used since September 2020.

  • Starting September 26, 2021, a new uniform national 420-hour entrance requirement will be in place for 1 year, for both regular and special benefits.

  • Self-employed workers who have opted in can access EI special benefits using an earnings threshold of $5,289 for claims established between September 26, 2021 and September 24, 2022.

  • Workers will once again need to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits (a requirement was that was temporarily waved in response to COVID-19).

  • The minimum benefit will be reduced from $500 a week to $300 a week.

The changes do not apply to applications for EI that were submitted prior to September 25, 2021.

Until October 23, 2021, Canadian workers will still be eligible for the three Canada Recovery benefits (the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit).

In September 2022, it is anticipated that pre-pandemic rules will come back into force.   However, the federal government is undergoing consultation in relation to making permanent changes to the EI program (you can participate in the survey here).

As a reminder, Service Canada has specific guidance in place relating to issuing records of employment during COVID-19.

If you have any questions about EI, contact us to discuss!