What is the Employment Insurance system?

Employment Insurance is a social program that contributes to the security of all Canadians by providing assistance to workers who lose their jobs and helping unemployed people across the country to get back to work.

Canadians have an EI program that is more in step with today's labour force.

  • The hours-based system gives credit for every hour worked, including overtime, and it provides a single universal standard upon which to judge the work history of all Canadians, regardless of their rate of pay.
  • The EI system protects those most in need, such as families with children and low-income earners, through features like the Family Income Supplement.

The EI system is being monitored, and Monitoring and Assessment Reports are regularly tabled in Parliament to assess how individuals, communities and employers are adjusting to it.

In order to find work, a large number of Canadians can make use of support measures available from the National Employment Service such as information and advisory services. A more comprehensive automated labour market information system and a labour exchange service also help individuals in their job search. In addition, assisted job search services, such as group information sessions, are available to help Canadians return to work as quickly as possible.

The Employment Insurance Act also allows for new partnerships to be created with the provinces and territories, aimed at increasing effectiveness and eliminating duplication. It recognizes provincial responsibilities for labour market  training.