Extension of EI Regular Benefits to Long-Tenured Workers

  1. Who is eligible for the new measure?

    EI eligible long-tenured workers who have contributed to the Employment Insurance (EI) program for a significant period of time and have previously made limited use of EI regular benefits.

    The new measure provides additional support through extended regular EI benefits.

  2. Who is a long-tenured worker?

    A long-tenured worker is someone who:

    • has contributed at least 30% of the annual maximum EI premiums for at least seven out of ten calendar years prior to the start of their claim; and
    • has received no more than 35 weeks of regular EI benefits in the five years prior to the start of their claim.
  3. What are EI regular benefits?

    • The EI program provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can't find a job.
    • Regular benefits exclude all special benefits (maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care), benefits obtained under Work-Sharing or those while on training to which the Commission, or an authority that the Commission designates, has referred the claimant.

    More information on EI regular benefits.

  4. How do I claim my additional benefits?

    • If you are currently receiving EI benefits, you do not have to take any action. The additional entitlement will be added to your claim automatically.
    • If your claim started January 4th, 2009 or later, and has already ended, we will be contacting you by mail with information on how to claim your additional benefits.
    • If your claim started January 4th, 2009 or later, and it is running out soon, we will be contacting you by telephone and/or by mail with information on how to claim your additional benefits in an effort to ensure that you do not experience an interruption in your payments.
    • If you are going to file or have recently filed a new claim for benefits and are awaiting a decision on your claim, the additional entitlement will be added to your claim automatically, providing your benefits are approved.
  5. How many extra weeks of benefits will long-tenured workers receive?

    The new measure extends regular benefits for eligible long-tenured workers by up to 20 weeks, depending on the number of years they have worked and the amount of EI premiums they have paid.

    As each case is unique, individuals are encouraged to check their EI file periodically through My Service Canada Account on the Service Canada website as of November 9, 2009

  6. When will these EI changes be available?

    These changes begin as of October 25, 2009, the day An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and to increase benefits came into force (became law) and will remain in place until September 11, 2010. Payments of these extended benefits could continue until fall 2011.

  7. Will these changes be retroactive?

    Yes, eligibility will be retroactive. The changes will apply to claims that started on January 4th, 2009 or later.

  8. Will this be a permanent change to EI legislation?

    No. Extended EI Benefits for long-tenured workers is a temporary measure designed to assist Canadians until they can transition back into the workforce.

    Eligibility for these extended benefits will be phased out in stages and will not apply to claims that begin after September 11, 2010.

  9. How long would the proposed measure be in effect?

    This is a temporary measure, which builds on those introduced in Canada’s Economic Action Plan. These changes take effect on October 25, 2009, the day An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and to increase benefits came into force (became law). Eligibility for these extended benefits will be phased out in stages and will not apply to claims that begin after September 11, 2010.

  10. Will I need to serve another waiting period for this new measure?

    You do not need to serve another waiting period if you are already receiving regular EI. You will only need to serve a waiting period if you are filing a new claim for benefits and have not yet served the mandatory two-week waiting period.

  11. What do I need to do if my benefits have already ended?

    If your benefits have already run out and if your claim started after January 4, 2009 and you are eligible for additional weeks of benefits, you will receive a letter from Service Canada with information on how to claim those additional benefits.

  12. What happens if I received payments from social assistance or an employment service provider after my EI ended?

    If you have received social assistance benefits after you received your last EI payment, you must advise your social assistance provider that you may be receiving additional EI benefits. Your social assistance provider will advise you if the additional EI benefits have an impact on your social assistance benefits.

    If you received or will receive an allowance or other living expenses for a training or employment program sponsored by your province/territory, Service Canada or Aboriginal Human Resources Development Agreement holder, please contact the organization with which you negotiated that agreement. Your employment service provider will advise you if the additional EI benefits have an impact on your training allowances and/or living expenses.

  13. I believe I am a long-tenured worker but I am not receiving additional weeks of EI, what should I do?

    If you believe you fit the criteria of a long-tenured worker and have not received additional weeks of regular EI benefits, contact Service Canada at 1‑800‑206‑7218.