Receiving earnings while you are claiming Employment Insurance benefits

Reporting your earnings

You must always report all your hours worked and earnings (including those from self-employment) while you are receiving EI benefits.

You must report all your hours of work and earnings from employment every two weeks on your EI reports using the EI Internet Reporting Service or the EI Telephone Reporting Service.

If you do not have access to a telephone or the Internet, you can request paper EI reports and submit them by mail.

Note: You must report any earnings that are earned or generated while on claim even if they are received at a later date. If the amounts are paid after you stop receiving benefits, they must still be reported. You can do so by calling us at 1-800-206-7218.

Allowable earnings

If you are claiming sickness or maternity benefits, we will deduct any earnings from your benefits on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Normally, if you are claiming regular, parental, or compassionate care benefits, you can earn either of the following two amounts without changing the amount of EI benefits you receive:

  • 25% of your weekly benefit (if your weekly benefit amount is $200 or more); or
  • $50 gross (if your weekly benefit amount is less than $200).

We will deduct any money you earn above that amount from your benefits on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

However, effective August 5, 2012 until August 1, 2015, a new pilot project is in place which will change the way earnings are deducted.

Under the Working While on Claim (WWC) pilot project, once you have served the waiting period, if your earnings are equal to or less than 90% of your weekly earnings that were used to calculate your benefit rate, your benefits will be reduced at a rate of 50% of your earnings each week. Any earnings that exceed this 90% threshold, will be deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits.

Receiving other income during your benefit period

The amount of your EI benefits can also be reduced if you receive other income during your benefit period, examples include:

  • damages and interest for wrongful dismissal;
  • call-back pay;
  • a partial payment of an amount owed;
  • income from self-employment; or
  • income from a pension plan through an employer, a pension plan for military service or work in a police force, the Canada Pension Plan or the Quebec Pension Plan, or provincial employment plans.

This income is considered earnings from employment and must be deducted from your EI benefits. You must report any of these types of income to us when you file your claim for benefits and in the EI reports that you submit. If you stop receiving this income, the amount of benefits that is paid to you will change. Contact us if there are any changes to the income you are receiving or you are not sure if the money you are receiving affects your claim.

On the other hand, some income has no effect on your regular benefits, including:

  • disability pensions;
  • survivor or dependant benefits;
  • additional voluntary contributions that are paid into a pension fund;
  • the Old Age Security pension;
  • the portion of the pension payable to the spouse in the event of a legal separation or divorce; or
  • a pension paid by Veterans Affairs Canada.

The EI earnings chart shows you all of the different types of income that are taken into consideration and how each is allocated.

Calculating your earnings if you have a business that generates self-employment earnings while you are receiving benefits

You must report your income from self-employment after your operating expenses have been deducted (gross income - minus operating expenses = earnings to be reported). Capital expenditures are not included as operating expenses and cannot be deducted from your self-employment income. You must keep records of all operating expenses you deduct, and these expenses must clearly relate to the income earned and reported for that week.

Allocation of self-employment earnings

If you have self-employment earnings from services performed, they are allocated to the week or weeks in which the services were performed.

If you have self-employment earnings from a transaction, they are allocated as follows:

  • if the earnings are greater than the maximum yearly insurable earnings divided by 52 ($850 in 2011), they are allocated to the week or weeks in which the work was performed that gave rise to the transaction (you must let Service Canada know when the work was performed that gave rise to the transaction); or 
  • if the earnings are less than or equal to the maximum yearly insurable earnings divided by 52 ($850 in 2011), they are allocated to:
    • the week the transaction occurred; or
    • the weeks in which the work was performed that gave rise to the transaction, if you inform Service Canada that the work was performed in more than one week.

Additional information