Employment Insurance Benefits: How It Can Help Work Permit Holders During COVID-19 Crisis?
Employment insurance program (EI) is managed by the federal government of Canada to provide the work permit holders temporary income support when they are unemployed or are in the process of upgrading their skills. The program is undoubtedly beneficial for foreign workers. However certain conditions are required to be fulfilled by the workers to become eligible for such benefits in the absence of a job.
The EI program’s benefits are open for all the workers who qualify for it including permanent residents, Canadian citizens, and foreign workers who are in the country on work permits.
Employment Insurance Program Eligibility
Normally, the benefits of the EI program are restricted to employees only. It means self-employed individuals are not eligible for it. In case an employee loses his job without any of his faults due to situations such as permanent or temporary lay-offs, he becomes eligible for employment insurance benefits. Employees who are actively hunting for work have more chances of qualifying for these benefits. However, those with closed work permits have very little chance for qualifying as their work permit status does not allow them to work with a new employer.
Also, only those work permit holders who are willing to accept work can qualify for these benefits.
How To Become Eligible For EI Benefits?
You can become eligible for the employment insurance benefits if you:
- Had full-time employment with a legal employer earlier
- Have been out of job and pay-less for minimum 7 consecutive days in the last 52 weeks
- Were removed from job for no fault of yours
- Have worked enough to fulfill the required quota of insurable employment hours
- Are willing to work and also have the capacity to work every day
- Are searching for a new job actively
You must keep in mind that the number of working hours qualifying for employment insurance benefits varies from one province to the other.
EI Sickness Benefits In COVID-19 Crisis
Through this program, you can get financial assistance for around 15 weeks if you are unable to work due to health reasons such as injury, illness, medical conditions, and pandemic crises like the current COVID-19. Through EI sickness benefit a work permit holder can receive a maximum of 55% of his earnings which is not more than $573 per week.
This is the arrangement in normal conditions. But there has been a change in this program during the COVID-19 crisis. Understanding the gravity of the situation the Canadian government has now decided to offer extra financial support to the jobless workers that have lost their jobs or are quarantined at home due to lockdown. Plans such as Emergency Support and Emergency Care benefits are expected to be rolled out after it is passed in the legislation.
The good news is that those who are not eligible for the employment insurance program but have lost their jobs or income due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be given financial support through the combined Emergency Care and Emergency Support benefits.