Employment Insurance Changes for COVID-19

COVID-19 Updates & Resources


If your business needs to reduce hours and staff because of COVID-19 related challenges, the Employment Insurance (EI) program has been adjusted to apply in more situations.

Questions can be directed to 1-833-381-2725 and information on specific programs is linked below.

EI Sickness Benefits

EI sickness benefits provide income support for people unable to work due to a directed COVID-19 quarantine or because they must self-isolate.  For people using EI sickness benefits due to COVID-19, the government is eliminating the usual 1 week waiting period, so EI benefits are payable immediately. Applications for COVID-19 quarantine benefits are also being fast-tracked. Employees affected can get more information, and apply online here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness.html

Work Sharing Program

If your business may need to reduce staff in light of economic challenges due to COVID-19, this EI program may allow you to avoid laying off valuable staff by reducing hours and sharing work amongst employees.  In this case, EI benefits would then provide income support to the employees who are working fewer hours.

This program proved useful during the 2008 recession, and it has been adjusted to allow for up to 76 weeks of support and to eliminate the waiting period.  Program information can be found online here, and the applicant guide with all the details and application forms is available here.

General Employment Insurance

General employment insurance is still available to individuals who lose jobs through no fault of their own, which would include a business downturn due to COVID-19. The EI process, including eligibility rules and online application, is available online here.