New Working While on Claim Pilot Project

The new Employment Insurance (EI) Working While on Claim pilot project is a way to help individuals like you stay connected with the labour market. The pilot project will change the way we deduct earnings from your EI benefits to ensure you always benefit from accepting work, since it is an important way to find a permanent job.

Starting August 5, 2012, this three-year pilot project will apply to you if you earn money while you are collecting any of the following types of EI benefits:

The new pilot project begins on August 5, 2012, and runs until August 1, 2015.

How it works

Under the new pilot project, you will be able to keep 50 cents of your EI benefits for every dollar you earn, up to 90% of the weekly insurable earnings that we used to calculate your EI benefit amount. This 90% amount is called the earnings threshold. If you earn any money above this threshold, we will deduct it dollar for dollar from your benefits.

For example, Christine’s weekly insurable earnings are $800. Her earnings threshold would therefore be $720 ($800 x .90 = $720). If Christine is collecting EI benefits based on weekly insurable earnings of $800, we would deduct the equivalent of 50% of her earnings from her EI benefits, until those earnings reach $720 (the earnings threshold). Any money Christine earns that is more than $720 (the earnings threshold) will be deducted from her EI benefits dollar for dollar.

We have provided more examples below to demonstrate how the earnings threshold works.

Important reminders

If you are receiving EI sickness benefits or EI maternity benefits, this pilot project does not apply to you. Any earnings you have will continue to be deducted dollar for dollar from benefits.

If you work a full work week, the rules do not change - you will not receive any EI benefits, regardless of the amount you earn.

The new Working While on Claim pilot project will automatically apply to your EI claim - you do not need to apply for it. As soon as you complete the two-week EI waiting period, the pilot project will automatically apply to any money you earn while you are collecting EI benefits.

What does the pilot project mean for me?

To give you a better idea of what this means for you, the table below compares the previous method (ends August 4, 2012) of calculating EI payments with the new pilot-project method:

Comparison table of the previous pilot project and the new pilot project
Previous method New method
Weekly insurable earnings $600 Weekly insurable earnings $600
EI weekly benefit amount (55% of $600) $330 EI weekly benefit amount (55% of $600) $330
Gross earnings declared during a week while on EI benefits $450 Gross earnings declared during a week while on EI benefits $450
Earnings amount
(40% of the benefit amount: $330 x .40 = $132)
$132 Earnings amount
(50% of gross earnings: $450 x .50 = $225)
$225
Net EI benefit payment for that week
($330 + $132 – $450 = $12)
$12 Net EI benefit payment for that week
($330 + $225 – $450 = $105)
$105
Combined earnings and EI benefits ($450 + $12 = $462) $462 Combined earnings and EI benefits ($450 + $105 = $555) $555

Examples of how the new pilot project works

The following three examples show how the new pilot project could work for claimants who earn different amounts while receiving EI benefits.

Example 1
Mario is collecting EI benefits, which are based on weekly insurable earnings of $825. This means that his earnings threshold is $743. While receiving EI benefits, he finds a temporary job where he earns $500 for that week, which is less than the earnings threshold of $743.

In the following chart, we show how we calculate Mario’s EI benefit for that week:
Mario’s weekly insurable earnings $825
Earnings threshold ($825 x .90 = $743) $743
50% of earnings threshold ($743 x .50 = $372) $372
EI benefit amount ($825 x .55 = $454) $454
Mario’s gross declared earnings for that week $500
Since Mario earned less than the earnings threshold, we calculate the amount to deduct from his EI benefit by multiplying his earnings by 50% ($500 x .50 = $250). $250
Net EI benefit ($454 – $250 = $204). This amount is Mario’s weekly EI benefit. $204
Mario’s combined earnings and EI benefit for that week ($500 + $204 = $704) $704

Example 2
Anna is collecting EI benefits, which are based on weekly insurable earnings of $825. This means that her earnings threshold is $743. While receiving EI benefits, she finds a temporary job where she earns $790 for that week, which is more than the earnings threshold of $743.

In the following chart, we show how we calculate Anna’s EI benefit for that week:
Weekly insurable earnings $825
Earnings threshold ($825 x .90 = $743) $743
50% of earnings threshold ($743 x .50 = $372) $372
EI benefit amount ($825 x .55 = $454) $454
Anna’s gross declared earnings for that week $790
Since Anna earned more than the earnings threshold, we calculate the amount to be deducted from her EI benefit by multiplying her earnings up to the threshold amount by 50% ($743 x .50 = $372), and then adding the amount dollar for dollar that she earned over the earnings threshold ($790 – $743 = $47)). $47
Net EI benefit ($454 – ($372 + 47) = $35). This amount is Anna’s weekly EI benefit. $35
Anna’s combined earnings and EI benefit for that week ($790 + $35 = $825) $825

Example 3
Emad is collecting EI benefits, which are based on weekly insurable earnings of $825. This means that his earnings threshold is $743. While receiving EI benefits, he finds a temporary job where he earns $825 for that week, which is exactly the same amount as his weekly insurable earnings, and more than his earnings threshold.

In the following chart, we show how we calculate Emad’s EI benefit for that week:
Weekly insurable earnings $825
Earnings threshold ($825 x .90 = $743) $743
50% of earnings threshold ($743 x .50 = $372) $372
EI benefit amount ($825 x .55 = $454) $454
Emad’s gross declared earnings for that week $825
Since Emad has earned more than the earnings threshold, we calculate the amount to be deducted from his EI benefit by multiplying his earnings up to the threshold amount by 50% ($743 x .50 = $372), and then adding the amount dollar for dollar that he earned over the earnings threshold ($825 - $743 = $82). $82
Net EI benefit ($454 – ($372 + $82) = $0). Emad is therefore not entitled to receive any EI benefits that week. $0
Emad’s combined earnings and EI benefit for that week ($825 + $0 = $825). $825

What if I work or live outside Canada?

If you are living in the United States and worked in Canada, or if you crossed the Canada–United States border between your residence and workplace and you are receiving EI benefits, this pilot project will also apply to you. Visit the Employment Insurance and Workers and/or Residents outside Canada Web page for more information.

Information about the previous pilot project

The new Working While on Claim pilot project replaces the previous pilot project, which ends on August 4, 2012.