Employment Insurance (E.I.), maternity, parental and sick benefits are available to help  alleviate financial pressure for eligible Canadian residents who have lost their jobs, are sick, are pregnant,  recently gave birth, adopted a child or are caring for a newborn.  To qualify for  maternity, parental or sick benefits:

  • You must have paid into your E.I. premiums and have worked the equivalent of 17 weeks (600 insured hours) full-time.
  • Your weekly earnings have been decreased by more than 40%.

If you feel you are eligible, you should apply for benefits immediately after you stop working. Delaying your application could cost you the benefits you are entitled to. In fact, the Government of Canada can refuse your application if you submit it four weeks after you stop working.  Keep in mind, maternity benefits can be collected eight weeks before giving birth or the week you give birth so discussing your maternity leave plans and agreeing on a leave date with your employer is essential.

Eligibility and the length of time you can receive benefits depends on the type of benefit you are applying for:

  • Maternity benefits are available to biological and surrogate mothers.  You can be paid up to a maximum of 15 weeks.
  • Parental benefits are available to biological and adoptive parents. You can be paid up to a maximum of 35 weeks.
  • Sickness benefits are available to individuals who have acquired an illness, injury or quarantine that prevents them from working. You can be paid up to a maximum of 15 weeks.

If you are eligible, you may be able to combine maternity, parental and sickness benefits to reach a maximum of 50 weeks. Also, you and your partner do have the option of receiving benefits at the same time. You and your partner have 35 hours of parental benefits between you, plus your 15 weeks of maternity benefits.

How much you receive will be dependent on your average insured earnings. The basic rate is 55% of your average insured earnings up to a maximum of $42,300. Therefore, your maximum payment per week is $447.

When applying for maternity, parental or sick benefits, you will need to provide the government with the following information:

  • Your social insurance number (SIN). If you are an immigrant (if your SIN number begins with a 9), you will also need to supply proof of immigration status and work permit.
  • A record of employment (ROE). You must submit ROE’s from all employers you have worked for within 52 weeks. You will only need to request an ROE if your employer does not submit the information to Service Canada electronically.
  • Personal documentation. This includes your driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport (if applying in person).
  • Complete banking information. This can include a void cheque or bank statement.
  • A medical certificate. A medical certificate with your doctor’s signature is required (for sick benefits only).
  • The date of birth or expected date of birth of your newborn (This applies to maternity benefits).
  • Your child’s date of birth, adoption date or child’s placement date. If adopting, you will need to supply the name and address of the adoption agency (This applies to parental benefits).
  • Facts if you have left or were dismissed from any job within the last 52 weeks.
  • Recent employment details. This includes gross salary and other gross amounts received or to be received. i.e. vacation pay, severance, pension, pay in lieu of notice or lay off.

For additional information, to apply online and to find a Service Canada Centre near you, visit the Service Canadawebsite.