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How long will employment insurance benefits last?

The length of time you are eligible to receive the employment insurance benefit depends on a variety of factors:

  • What type of benefit you are applying for;
  • The information you provide to Service Canada.

What type of benefit are you applying for?

Regular benefits

Regular benefits can last anywhere from 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks. One of the factors the government takes into consideration is the unemployment rate in your region, as well as how many hours of work you have amassed in the last 52 weeks or since the last time you claimed EI.

Sickness benefits

The maximum amount of time that you could receive sickness benefits, which are benefits you could receive if you are injured, ill or quarantined but you would otherwise be able to work is 15 weeks.

Family-related employment insurance benefits (also known as maternity and parental leave)

You will stop receiving EI benefits in any of the following cases, whichever comes first:

  • You have received all the weeks of benefits to which you were entitled; or
  • The maximum benefit period of 52 weeks has been reached; or
  • The payment timeframe during which you can receive benefits has ended, as follows:
    • EI maternity benefits can be paid for a maximum period of 15 weeks and must end 17 weeks after the week you were expected to give birth or the week you actually give birth, whichever is later; or
    • EI parental benefits can be paid for a maximum period of 35 weeks and must end 52 weeks after the week your child was born or was placed with you for adoption.


    For children born or adopted on or after December 3, 2017, you can get extended parental benefits up to 61 weeks. The benefit rate is 33 per cent of the claimant`s average weekly insurance earnings up to a maximum amount.

Special benefits for self-employed people

Will usually follow the same time period applicable for whatever category of benefits you have applied for.

Compassionate care benefits

This type of benefit is provided for people who have to take away from work in order to care for or support a family member who is very sick and faces a significant risk of death. The maximum allowable time period this benefit can be received is 26 weeks.

However, these 26 weeks can be shared among several family members who provide care, not just one.

The information you provide to Service Canada

There is quite a bit of information that can influence how much or how long you are to receive benefits.

The obvious factor in shortening the length of the time you receive unemployment benefits is if you have found a job. If you are receiving EI benefits and have accepted a new job, you would need to inform them immediately.

Read more:

EI Regular Benefits - How much you could receive

Employment Insurance benefits