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Requirements to continue receiving employment insurance benefits

If you have been approved to receive employment insurance benefits, your work is by no means done.

In order to keep qualifying for benefits, there are things you have to do.

What are my obligations while receiving EI?

One of the most important obligations while you are receiving benefits is to file your EI report.

The reports have to be completed and submitted usually online or over the phone. While you are receiving the benefits you have to report to Service Canada every two weeks to continue being entitled to receive the benefits.

How do I file an EI report?

As stated above you have two ways of filing the report:

  1. Through the EI Internet Reporting Service. You would visit the Service Canada centre website. Then from the on-line services and forms menu on the right-hand side of the page, you click on "Complete your EI report."
  2. Secondly, Service Canada offers the EI Telephone Reporting Service. You would call 1-800-531-7555.

What questions will I be asked when filing the report?

You will almost always be asked the following questions:

  • Whether you were outside Canada during the period of the report;
  • Whether you worked or received earnings, including self-employment earnings;
  • Whether you started a full-time job;
  • Whether you attended school or a training course;
  • Whether you were ready, willing, and capable of working each day; and
  • Whether you received or will receive money other than that already reported.

What will I need in order to file my reports?

Before you go on to file your report, ensure that you have the following ready:

  • Your social insurance number; and
  • Your access code.

Service Canada should have mailed you the access code in the EI benefit statement. If you have not received the benefit statement with the access code, you need to call Service Canada and inform them of that.

What happens if I was outside of Canada while receiving benefits?

You cannot receive benefits if you are outside of Canada. If you are on vacation, for example, then the time for which you were on vacation is going to be deducted from your benefits.

However, there are exceptions.

For example, you may still be eligible to receive benefits if you are outside of Canada if you can show that you are available for work while outside of the country.

There are also situations in which you are allowed to be outside of Canada and still receive benefits. However, the period for which you can be outside of Canada is limited to seven days.

Allowable situations are the following:

  • Accompanying a member of your immediate family to a medical facility, provided that the treatment sought is not readily available in the family member's area of residence in Canada;
  • Visiting a member of your immediate family who is seriously ill or injured;
  • Attending a bona fide job interview;
  • Attending the funeral of a member of your immediate family or a close relative.

Remember though, if you are outside of Canada, you have to let Service Canada know. Not reporting it could affect your benefits and you could suffer further consequences as well.

For example, failing to withhold information can count as misrepresentation. Misrepresentation means that you knowingly make misleading statements, misrepresent the facts or withhold information to make false claims. In such cases, the government cannot only require you to pay back benefits but may even fine you and in the worst-case scenario you could be facing criminal charges.

If you need help with your EI claim, contact Service Canada. If you have been accused of misrepresentation consult a lawyer.

Read more:

Service Canada

While on EI Government of Canada