Employment Insurance Act (S.C. 1996, c. 23)
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Act current to 2023-05-17 and last amended on 2022-12-18. Previous Versions
PART IUnemployment Benefits
6 (1) In this Part,
disentitled means not entitled under section 13, 18, 21, 31, 32, 33, 36, 37, 49 or 50 or under the regulations; (inadmissible)
disqualified means disqualified under section 27 or 30; (exclu du bénéfice des prestations)
- initial claim for benefits
initial claim for benefits means a claim made for the purpose of establishing a claimant’s benefit period; (demande initiale de prestations)
- major attachment claimant
major attachment claimant means a claimant who qualifies to receive benefits and has 600 or more hours of insurable employment in their qualifying period; (prestataire de la première catégorie)
- minor attachment claimant
minor attachment claimant means a claimant who qualifies to receive benefits and has fewer than 600 hours of insurable employment in their qualifying period; (prestataire de la deuxième catégorie)
- qualifying period
qualifying period means the period described in section 8; (période de référence)
- waiting period
waiting period means the one week of the benefit period described in section 13. (délai de carence)
Marginal note:Rounding off percentages or fractions
(2) A reference in this Part to an amount equal to a percentage or fraction of earnings or benefits in a period shall be rounded to the nearest multiple of one dollar or, if the amount is equidistant from two multiples of one dollar, to the higher multiple.
Marginal note:Hours of insurable employment
(3) For the purposes of this Part, the number of hours of insurable employment that a claimant has in any period shall be established as provided under section 55, subject to any regulations made under paragraph 54(z.1) allocating the hours to the claimant’s qualifying period.
Marginal note:Employment not suitable
(4) For the purposes of paragraphs 18(1)(a) and 27(1)(a) to (c) and subsection 50(8), employment is not suitable employment for a claimant if
(a) it arises in consequence of a work stoppage attributable to a labour dispute;
(b) it is in the claimant’s usual occupation and is either at a lower rate of earnings or on conditions less favourable than those observed by agreement between employers and employees or, in the absence of any such agreement, than those recognized by good employers; or
(c) it is not in the claimant’s usual occupation and is either at a lower rate of earnings or on conditions less favourable than those that the claimant might reasonably expect to obtain, having regard to the conditions that the claimant usually obtained in their usual occupation, or would have obtained if they had continued to be so employed.
Marginal note:Reasonable interval
(5) After a lapse of a reasonable interval from the date on which an insured person becomes unemployed, paragraph (4)(c) does not apply to the employment described in that paragraph if it is employment at a rate of earnings not lower and on conditions not less favourable than those observed by agreement between employers and employees or, in the absence of any such agreement, than those recognized by good employers.
- 1996, c. 23, s. 6
- 2000, c. 14, s. 2
- 2016, c. 7, s. 208, c. 12, s. 101
- 2021, c. 23, s. 302
Qualifying for Benefits
Marginal note:Benefits payable to persons who qualify
7 (1) Unemployment benefits are payable as provided in this Part to an insured person who qualifies to receive them.
Marginal note:Qualification requirement
(2) An insured person qualifies if the person
(a) has had an interruption of earnings from employment; and
(b) has had during their qualifying period at least the number of hours of insurable employment set out in the following table in relation to the regional rate of unemployment that applies to the person.
Regional Rate of Unemployment Required Number of Hours of Insurable Employment in Qualifying Period 6% and under 700 more than 6% but not more than 7% 665 more than 7% but not more than 8% 630 more than 8% but not more than 9% 595 more than 9% but not more than 10% 560 more than 10% but not more than 11% 525 more than 11% but not more than 12% 490 more than 12% but not more than 13% 455 more than 13% 420
(3) to (5) [Repealed, 2016, c. 7, s. 209]
Marginal note:Other benefit rights — Canada-U.S. agreement
(6) An insured person is not qualified to receive benefits if it is jointly determined that the insured person must first exhaust or end benefit rights under the laws of another jurisdiction, as provided by Article VI of the Agreement Between Canada and the United States Respecting Unemployment Insurance, signed on March 6 and 12, 1942.
- 1996, c. 23, s. 7
- 1999, c. 31, s. 75(E)
- 2001, c. 5, s. 4
- 2009, c. 33, s. 3
- 2016, c. 7, s. 209
- 2021, c. 23, s. 303
Marginal note:Increase in required hours
7.1 (1) The number of hours that an insured person requires under section 7 to qualify for benefits is increased to the number set out in the following table in relation to the applicable regional rate of unemployment if the insured person accumulates one or more violations in the 260 weeks before making their initial claim for benefits.
Regional Rate of Unemployment /
Taux régional de chômage
Violation minor /
very serious /
6% and under/
6 % et moins
875 1050 1225 1400
more than 6% but not more than 7%/
plus de 6 % mais au plus 7 %
831 998 1164 1330
more than 7% but not more than 8%/
plus de 7 % mais au plus 8 %
788 945 1103 1260
more than 8% but not more than 9%/
plus de 8 % mais au plus 9 %
744 893 1041 1190
more than 9% but not more than 10%/
plus de 9 % mais au plus 10 %
700 840 980 1120
more than 10% but not more than 11%/
plus de 10 % mais au plus 11 %
656 788 919 1050
more than 11% but not more than 12%/
plus de 11 % mais au plus 12 %
613 735 858 980
more than 12% but not more than 13%/
plus de 12 % mais au plus 13 %
569 683 796 910
more than 13%/
plus de 13 %
525 630 735 840
(2) [Repealed, 2016, c. 7, s. 210]
Marginal note:Deemed violation
(2.1) A violation accumulated by an individual under section 152.07 is deemed to be a violation accumulated by the individual under this section on the day on which the notice of violation was given to the individual.
(3) A violation may not be taken into account under subsection (1) in more than two initial claims for benefits under this Act by an individual if the individual who accumulated the violation qualified for benefits in each of those two initial claims, taking into account subsection (1), subparagraph 152.07(1)(d)(ii) or regulations made under Part VIII, as the case may be.
(4) An insured person accumulates a violation if in any of the following circumstances the Commission issues a notice of violation to the person:
(a) one or more penalties are imposed on the person under section 38, 39, 41.1 or 65.1, as a result of acts or omissions mentioned in section 38, 39 or 65.1;
(b) the person is found guilty of one or more offences under section 135 or 136 as a result of acts or omissions mentioned in those sections; or
(c) the person is found guilty of one or more offences under the Criminal Code as a result of acts or omissions relating to the application of this Act.
Marginal note:Classification of violations
(5) Except for violations for which a warning was imposed, each violation is classified as a minor, serious, very serious or subsequent violation as follows:
(a) if the value of the violation is
(i) less than $1,000, it is a minor violation,
(ii) $1,000 or more, but less than $5,000, it is a serious violation, or
(iii) $5,000 or more, it is a very serious violation; and
(b) if the notice of violation is issued within 260 weeks after the person accumulates another violation, it is a subsequent violation, even if the acts or omissions on which it is based occurred before the person accumulated the other violation.
Marginal note:Value of violations
(6) The value of a violation is the total of
(a) the amount of the overpayment of benefits resulting from the acts or omissions on which the violation is based, and
(b) if the claimant is disqualified or disentitled from receiving benefits, or the act or omission on which the violation is based relates to qualification requirements under section 7, the amount determined, subject to subsection (7), by multiplying the claimant’s weekly rate of benefit by the average number of weeks of regular benefits, as determined under the regulations.
(7) The maximum amount to be determined under paragraph (6)(b) is the amount of benefits that could have been paid to the claimant if the claimant had not been disentitled or disqualified or had met the qualification requirements under section 7.
- 1996, c. 23, s. 7.1
- 2009, c. 33, s. 4
- 2016, c. 7, s. 210
- 2021, c. 23, s. 304
Marginal note:Qualifying period
8 (1) Subject to subsections (2) to (7), the qualifying period of an insured person is the shorter of
(a) the 52-week period immediately before the beginning of a benefit period under subsection 10(1), and
(b) the period that begins on the first day of an immediately preceding benefit period and ends with the end of the week before the beginning of a benefit period under subsection 10(1).
Marginal note:Extension of qualifying period
(2) A qualifying period mentioned in paragraph (1)(a) is extended by the aggregate of any weeks during the qualifying period for which the person proves, in such manner as the Commission may direct, that throughout the week the person was not employed in insurable employment because the person was
(a) incapable of work because of a prescribed illness, injury, quarantine or pregnancy;
(b) confined in a jail, penitentiary or other similar institution and was not found guilty of the offence for which the person was being held or any other offence arising out of the same transaction;
(c) receiving assistance under an employment support measure other than one referred to in paragraph 59(c) or (d); or
(d) receiving payments under a provincial law on the basis of having ceased to work because continuing to work would have resulted in danger to the person, her unborn child or a child whom she was breast-feeding.
(3) [Repealed, 2021, c. 23, s. 305]
Marginal note:Further extension of qualifying period
(4) A qualifying period is further extended by the aggregate of any weeks during an extension for which the person proves, in any manner that the Commission may direct, that the person was not employed in insurable employment because of a reason specified in subsection (2).
Marginal note:Period not counted if benefits received
(5) For the purposes of subsections (2) and (4), a week during which the person was in receipt of benefits does not count.
(6) [Repealed, 2021, c. 23, s. 305]
Marginal note:Maximum extension of qualifying period
(7) No extension under subsection (2) or (4) may result in a qualifying period of more than 104 weeks.
- 1996, c. 23, s. 8
- 2013, c. 35, s. 1
- 2021, c. 23, s. 305
- 2022, c. 10, s. 389
- Date modified: