The Government of Canada has announced that it will temporarily waive the one week waiting period for EI claimants who establish a new claim between January 31, 2021 and September 25, 2021, including claimants of regular, fishing, and special benefits. This change is being made to help ease financial stress during the pandemic.
This change will allow individuals who are applying for EI to receive benefits during the first week of unemployment. The EI waiting period is a period of time before the claimant can begin to receive EI benefits. The waiting period acts like a deductible similar to other types of insurance. The Government of Canada has clarified that this change will not increase the total number of weeks of EI benefits.
This change follows other recent temporary changes to the EI program on September 27, 2020 and the formation of three new temporary recovery benefits for workers who do not qualify for EI: the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit. The waiting period was previously reduced from two weeks to one week in January of 2017.
More information regarding this change is available on the Government of Canada website. If you have questions about how this may apply to your workplace policies, please contact a member of the firm’s Labour + Employment Group.