Working While on Claim Pilot Project

Video centre

Changes are being made to the Employment Insurance (EI) Working While on Claim pilot project, which helps you stay connected with the labour market.

The WWC pilot project is a way to help individuals like you stay connected with the labour market. The WWC pilot project deals with the way we deduct earnings from your EI benefits and ensures you always benefit from accepting more work.

The WWC pilot project is in effect until August 6, 2016, and will apply to you if you earn money while you are collecting any of the following types of EI benefits:

How it works

Under the WWC 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. However, this will not reduce the total number of weeks payable on your claim.

The WWC 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 WWC pilot project will automatically apply to any money earned or allocated to your claim while you are collecting EI benefits.

Examples of how the WWC pilot project works

The following three examples show how the WWC 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 but this will not reduce the total number of weeks payable on his claim. $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 WWC 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 option to revert to a previous WWC pilot project

What does this mean for me?

Since the introduction of the WWC pilot project, some claimants have expressed some difficult in transitioning to the new rules. As a result, the WWC pilot project was amended to provide additional flexibility to some claimants by allowing them to revert to a previous method used to treat earnings while in receipt of EI benefits if special eligibility criteria are met.

Eligible claimants

Under a previous WWC pilot project, if claimants earned less than $75 or 40 per cent of their weekly EI benefits, whichever was greater, their benefits were not reduced. However, benefits were reduced by every dollar earned above this threshold.

EI claimants in receipt of Regular, Parental, Compassionate Care or Parents of Critically Ill Children (including fishing) benefits, who had earnings while on claim between August 7, 2011 and August 4, 2012 may be able to revert to the rules that existed under the previous WWC pilot project.

The option to revert to the previous pilot project does not apply to Self-Employment Benefits.

If you are working part time (approximately one day a week) and are unable to secure additional work or the type of benefits you are receiving does not require that you be available for work, it may be more beneficial to elect to have your claim reverted to the previous pilot project.

Once you decide to revert to the provisions of the previous pilot, it will apply for the entire duration of your claim, or until August 6, 2016, whichever is earlier. Your decision will be irreversible, even if your personal circumstances change.

If you are working more than one to two days a week and there is the possibility that you may work more, then the current pilot project may be more beneficial for you.