To qualify for Employment Insurance, you must have previously been an employee receiving salary or wages for work you performed for your employer(s) in a formal employment relationship. The employer(s) must have also deducted EI premiums from your salary or wages.
People are required to work for a certain amount of hours to qualify for EI benefits. You will usually qualify for EI benefits if you have worked 700 hours or more during your qualifying period. You may qualify for EI if you have worked between 420 and 700 hours during your qualifying period. You will not qualify for EI if you worked less than 420 during your qualifying period.
The qualifying period will be the shorter of:
- The 52-week period immediately before the start date of your claim, or;
- The period from the start of a previous benefit period to the start of your new benefit period, if you applied for benefits earlier and your application was approved in the last 52 weeks.
You may not be eligible for Employment Insurance if you left your job voluntarily, were fired for misconduct, or are unemployed as the result of participating in a strike or lockout. However, if you left your job voluntarily because you were harassed, discriminated against, expected to work in dangerous conditions, had to care for your child, were pressured to leave your job by your employer, or for other similar reasons, then you may still qualify for EI benefits.