Employment Insurance and workers and residents outside Canada

Do you have a question about the EI program? The frequently asked questions might help!

What you should know

People who work outside Canada may be entitled to benefits under Canada's Employment Insurance (EI) program. If you work outside Canada for a Canadian company or the Canadian government, you are usually covered by EI. However, you will not be insured by the EI program if your job is covered by the country in which you are working.

If you are not sure whether your job is insured under Canada's EI program, ask your employer or call the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-5525.

Who can apply

Canadian Employment Insurance benefits may be paid to you when you reside or work outside Canada in the following situations:

  • your last employment was in Canada, but you now reside in the United States;
  • your permanent residence is in a country other than Canada or the United States, you are applying for maternity and parental or compassionate care benefits and you have a valid Social Insurance Number; or
  • you are a commuter (a resident of Canada or the U.S. who regularly crosses the Canada–U.S. border between your residence and workplace

You may be eligible for American Unemployment Insurance benefits if your last employment was in the United States and you now reside in Canada. If you also had previous employment in Canada, you may be able to file a claim for Canadian Employment Insurance benefits instead. You may be able to receive benefits from either Canada or the United States, but you cannot receive benefits from both countries at the same time.

How to file a claim for American Unemployment Insurance benefits

To file a claim for American Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must call the Telephone Information Service or go to the nearest Service Canada Centre. You will be asked to give your name, address, phone number, Social Insurance Number (SIN) and Social Security Number (SSN) and indicate the state from which you want to claim benefits. Depending on the state in which you last worked, you may be able to file a claim directly with the workforce development agency for that state via the Internet or by phone. If the workforce development agency for that state does not accept claims via the Internet or by phone, information will be forwarded to a designated office responsible for handling such claims based on where you reside in Canada. You may also contact the designated Service Canada Centre directly.

You must provide proof that your employment in the United States was authorized by American immigration regulations and that you are available for and actively seeking work in Canada. If you are not a Canadian resident, you will be asked for proof that you are authorized to work in Canada.

If you worked for the American Armed Forces in the United States and you want to move or return to Canada, you must file a claim for benefits at the nearest state workforce development agency in the United States. Service Canada Centres cannot accept these claims for benefits.

Atlantic Region

For residents of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island:

Service Canada Centre
Sub-Unit of interstate claim processing
95 Foundry St.
Suite 310
Moncton NB
E1C 8R5

Phone: 1-866-950-7227 ext. 3522 – Fax: 506-851-3443

Quebec Region

For Quebec residents:

Service Canada Centre
Sub-Unit of interstate claim processing
P.O. Box 10800, Station Sainte-Foy
Quebec, QC
G1V 5B4

Phone: 1-866-299-5650 ext 2240 – Fax: 418-681-4810

Ontario Region

For Ontario residents:

Service Canada Centre
Sub-Unit of interstate claim processing
299 Concession Street
PO Box 210
Kingston, ON
K7K 2B9

Phone: 1-877-486-1650 - Fax: 613-545-8934

Western Canada and Territories Region

For residents of Manitoba, Alberta, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories:

Service Canada Centre
Sub-Unit of interstate claim processing
1783 Hamilton Street
Regina SK
S4P 2N6

Phone: 1-866-483-6466 - Fax:  306-780-6483

How to file a claim for Canadian Employment Insurance benefits if you reside outside Canada

You may file your claim for Canadian Employment Insurance benefits online

If you are residing in the United States and claiming regular benefits, you must be available and actively seeking work and you must provide proof that you are legally authorized to work in the United States. You will also need to submit your Record of Employment (ROE) from your Canadian employer.

You will need to submit your ROEs from all your Canadian employers who issued ROEs in paper format in the last 52 weeks. However, if your employer submits your ROE to Service Canada electronically, you do not need to submit a copy of your ROE to Service Canada, since we will have received it from your employer. On the same day your employer submits it, you will be able to view and print copies of your ROE online using My Service Canada Account.

If you reside outside Canada in a country other than the United States, you may be eligible for maternity and parental or compassionate care benefits, provided you have a valid Social Insurance Number. Regular benefits are not payable to a person residing in a country other than Canada or the United States.

All claims received from people residing outside of Canada are processed in the Ontario region, at the Service Canada Centre in Kingston. For more information, call 1-877-486-1650.

Residents of the United States

Regular benefits:

If you live in the United States, you can be paid a maximum of 36 weeks of regular benefits. The number of weeks payable is based on the number of insurable hours that you have accumulated in Canada during the last 52 weeks or since your last claim

To be eligible for regular benefits, you must show that:

  • you have worked in a job that is insured under Canada's Employment Insurance program;
  • in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim, you have worked between 420 and 700 hours*; and
  • you are legally authorized to work in the United States.

* In some instances, you may need at least 910 hours to qualify (for example, if you are in the work force for the first time or you are re-entering the work force after an absence of two years). However, if you have received at least one week of maternity and parental benefits in the 208 weeks before the 52-week period prior to the qualifying period, you will require between 420 and 700 hours to qualify for regular benefits. For more information, call 1-800-206-7218

The number of hours required is based on the regional rate of unemployment in the economic region where you last worked in Canada

Starting December 11, 2005, if you are living in one of the 23 participating economic regions, you could qualify for regular benefits with a minimum of 840 hours instead of 910 hours.

Number of weeks payable by hours of insurable employment
Number of hours of insurable employment Number of weeks of benefits
420 - 489 10
490 - 559 11
560 - 629 12
630 - 699 13
700 - 769 14
770 - 839 15
840 - 909 16
910 - 979 17
980 - 1049 18
1050 - 1119 19
1120 - 1189 20
1190 - 1259 21
1260 - 1329 22
1330 - 1399 23
1400 - 1434 24
1435 - 1469 25
1470 - 1504 26
1505 - 1539 27
1540 - 1574 28
1575 - 1609 29
1610 - 1644 30
1645 - 1679 31
1680 - 1714 32
1715 - 1749 33
1750 - 1784 34
1785 - 1819 35
1820 and more 36

Maternity and parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits

Maternity and parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits can be paid to you if you are living in the United States as long as you meet the requirements for these benefits.

To be eligible for maternity and parental, sickness or compassionate care benefits you must show that you have worked:

You may file your claim for Canadian Employment Insurance maternity and parental, sickness or compassionate care benefits online. For more information, call 1-800-206-7218.

Canadian government and Armed Forces personnel posted in the United States

You may be entitled to regular, maternity and parental, sickness or compassionate care benefits if you or your dependants are posted in the United States and working for the Canadian government or for the Armed Forces. Dependants include your spouse, unmarried children under 21, unmarried full-time students under 25 and unmarried disabled children

You may file your claim for Canadian Employment Insurance benefits online. For more information, call 1-800-206-7218.

Your permanent residence is in a country other than Canada or the United States

If you permanently reside in a country other than Canada or the United States, you may be eligible for maternity and parental, sickness or compassionate care benefits if you have worked in a job in your country of residence that is insurable under Canada's Employment Insurance (EI) program.

For example, you may be a spouse of a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and working abroad for the Canadian government. If you become ill and are unable to work, you can apply for sickness benefits if you meet the requirements.

You may file a claim for Canadian EI maternity and parental, sickness or compassionate care benefits online. For more information, call 1-800-206-7218 or write to the following address:

Service Canada Centre
Sub-Unit of interstate claim processing
299 Concession Street,
PO Box 210
Kingston, ON
K7K 2B9

If you normally reside outside Canada and the United States and your last employment was in Canada, you may be eligible for maternity and parental or compassionate care benefits, provided you have a valid Social Insurance Number.

You are a commuter

Commuters are Canadians or Americans who regularly cross the Canada–U.S. border between their residence and workplace.

If you are an American living near the Canadian border and you usually commute to Canada to work, you must file a claim for Canadian EI benefits at the nearest Service Canada Centre. Your claim will be treated like that of any resident of Canada. Therefore, you may be entitled to receive regular, maternity and parental, sickness or compassionate care benefits.

If you are a Canadian living near the American border and you usually commute to the United States to work, you must file a claim for American Unemployment Insurance benefits at the nearest state workforce development agency.