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Common Questions

How long will my EI last if I get laid off?

Last reviewed in October 2020 by the Clicklaw Editors

Employment insurance (EI) benefits include temporary payments to people who are between jobs. The number of weeks you can collect EI benefits is calculated when your EI claim starts, and it is based on the unemployment rate in your region and the number of insurable hours you worked in the qualifying period.

Good starting points include:

  • Applying for Employment Insurance Benefits, from People's Law School, is a factsheet that provides a brief overview of EI.
  • Employment Insurance, from Community Legal Education Ontario, is a booklet about EI issues, including how to apply and benefit periods. Note that the section “Where Can I Get Legal Help” relates to Ontario only.
  • LSLAP Manual: Employment Insurance is a chapter from the manual used by law students handling cases at the UBC Law Students Legal Advice Program. Beginning in a section called "The Benefit Period," it provides details on how the benefits period is calculated, extension of the benefit period, and what ends (or terminates) the benefit period.
  • The Legal Help BC COVID-19 page from the Justice Education Society offers an updated Q&A about EI and other employment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Coronavirus & Benefits for Workers, Coronavirus: Your Legal Questions Answered, by People’s Law School, has a section called “Coronavirus & Benefits for Workers: Which Benefits Are For You?.” It  discusses the various benefits available to people who have lost or can't find work due to COVID-19.

Need more help?

  • For help with Employment Insurance, call Service Canada at 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232).
  • Justice Access Centre, from the provincial government, can help assess what you need, provide information about your legal and related issues and refer you to the services that are available for your situation.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap

See our related common questions:

employment insurance (EI), getting fired or laid off, job loss, EI benefit period, coronavirus, COVID-19, covid19