I qualified for EI. What must I do to continue getting my benefits?

1. Start your job search

Regular benefits

To get regular EI benefits each week, you must show that you are available for work and able to work. If there is any reason that you can't look for a job or can't go back to work, you might not be eligible for regular EI benefits. For example, if you are enrolled full-time in a training or educational program that does not give you enough time off to have a job as well, Service Canada staff might say that you are not available for work and stop your benefits.

EI benefits are sometimes available for people who are getting unpaid training. But you must get the training approved by Service Canada staff before you start it or your benefits might be stopped. Service Canada staff will want to see that you are still available for work and able to continue to look for work while you are training.

It is very important to show that you are actively trying to find suitable work. Write down any jobs you apply for, any websites you search, and any other ways that you tried to find work. Give as much detail as possible.

You must also report any job offers you get.

You can begin by looking for work in your usual occupation or other occupations with similar pay and work conditions. But if you haven't found a job after a reasonable time, Service Canada staff can require you to look for work in other occupations even if it pays less than you usually earn.

If you are offered a suitable job, you must accept it. If you don't take the job, EI can stop your benefits for 7 to 12 weeks. A job is considered suitable if:

  • your health and physical abilities allow you to travel to the job and do the work,
  • the hours of work are compatible with your family obligations and religious beliefs, and
  • doing the work would not be against your religious or moral beliefs.

A job is not considered suitable if it is available because of a strike or lockout.

Special benefits

If you are receiving special benefits, you do not have to do a job search or show that you are available for work. Special benefits include:

For sickness benefits, you do have to show that you would have been available for and capable of working if you had not gotten sick, injured, or placed into quarantine.

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.

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