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I am too sick to work. Can I get EI?

I am too sick to work. Can I get EI?
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Government of Canada
The Canadian Bar Association (CBA)
Government of Canada
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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I am too sick to work. Can I get EI?
This question has an answer and 4 steps
September 28, 2020

Employment Insurance (EI) rules have changed because of COVID-19. As of August 9, 2020, if you're applying for special EI benefits like sickness benefits, you only need 120 hours of insurable work. And there's a new minimum EI payment amount of $500 a week. These changes are expected to last for one year.

They're part of the system that the government has created to replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which ends October 3, 2020. Read more in The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is ending. Will I be able to get Employment Insurance (EI)?

If you are not able to work because of illness, injury, or quarantine, you might qualify for up to 15 weeks of Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

To qualify for sickness benefits, you need a medical certificate signed by your doctor or approved medical practitioner. The certificate should describe your sickness and say how long you will need to be off work.

You must also show that you would have been ready and able to work if you had not gotten sick, injured, or quarantined. There must not be any other reason that would have prevented you from working full time.    

For example, if you made plans to go back to school full-time before you got sick, you might not be able to get EI sickness benefits. This is because as a full-time student you would not have been available to work full-time, even if you were healthy.

If you work while on sickness benefits, any money you earn is deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits.

Other benefits 

Even if you don't qualify for EI sickness benefits, you may be able to take up to 3 days off each year as sick leave if:

  • you're covered by Ontario's Employment Standards Act, and
  • you've been working for your employer for at least 2 weeks in a row.
COVID-19 Benefits
COVID-19 EI Benefits

Learn about new EI rules during COVID-19

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