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ESDC: Employment Insurance Waiting Period Temporarily Waived for New Claimants

Yesterday on January 31, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) had updated their policy on waiting periods on new Employment Insurance (EI) claims. All EI regular, fishing and special benefits are to be immediate as soon as one’s application qualifies, effective until September 25, 2021.

This temporary change will allow new applicants to be paid within the first week into unemployment, effectively granting an additional week’s benefit during their weeks of entitlement. On top of that, the Government has also waived the waiting period for EI sickness claims established on or after September 27, 2020, for a period of one year to encourage compliance with public health measures. For workers who transitioned from the CERB to the simplified EI program between September 27 and October 25, 2020, the waiting period for all EI benefits was also waived.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the Canadian labour market, resulting in job losses and significantly reduced work hours for many. We recognize that workers in Canada face different challenges and as such, need different kinds of support. By temporarily waiving the waiting period, we are easing a big financial stress for workers and are providing income support to them faster. This certainty will go a long way for families and for communities who are feeling the effects of this pandemic especially hard.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough