Who is eligible?
The information below should be used as a guideline. We encourage you to apply for benefits and let a Service Canada agent determine if you’re eligible.
You need to demonstrate that:
- you’re pregnant or have recently given birth when requesting maternity benefits
- you’re a parent caring for your newborn or newly adopted child when requesting parental benefits
- your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week
- you accumulated 600 insured hours* of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your claim or since the start of your last claim, whichever is shorter
You can start receiving maternity benefits as early as 12 weeks before your due date or the date you give birth. You cannot receive these benefits more than 17 weeks after your due date or the date you gave birth, whichever is later.
How, where and when to apply
To receive maternity, parental or sickness benefits you must submit an EI application online or in-person to your Service Canada Centre. You should apply as soon as you stop working, even if you receive or will receive money when you become unemployed.
You must request your Record of Employment (ROE) from your last employer. If you have your ROE from your last employer, apply immediately. If you did not receive your last ROE, submit your application along with proof of employment — for example, pay stubs. If one or more ROE covering periods prior to your last employment are missing, you must still submit your claim for benefits.
Generally, an ROE must be issued within five (5) calendar days of the interruption of earnings or the date the employer becomes aware of the interruption.
What information/documents are needed to apply?
- your Social Insurance Number (SIN). If your SIN begins with a 9, you need to supply proof of your immigration status and work permit.
- a Record of Employment (ROE) from each job held over the last 52 weeks. If you do not have your ROE after 14 days from your last day of work, you must submit proof of employment such as pay stubs;
- personal identification such as your driver’s licence, birth certificate or passport if you are applying in person;
- your complete bank information, as shown on your cheque or bank statement or a voided personalized blank cheque from your current account. This will ensure that your payment of benefits will be made directly to your bank account with Direct Deposit;
- a medical certificate indicating how long your incapacity is expected to last if you are claiming sickness benefits;
- the expected or actual date of birth of your child, if you are claiming maternity benefits;
- your newborn’s date of birth, or, when there is an adoption, your child’s date of placement, if you are claiming parental benefits. In the case of an adoption, you also need to provide the name and full address of the agency handling the adoption;
- your detailed version of facts if you have quit or have been dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks;
- details regarding your most recent employment: Your total salary before deductions, your salary before deductions for your last week of work — from Sunday to your last day worked, gross amounts received or to be received, such as vacation pay, pension, pay in lieu of notice or lay off and other monies.
The 1-week waiting period
You must serve a 1-week unpaid waiting period before your EI benefit begins to be paid. Generally, this period is the first week of your claim. This is like a deductible for any kind of insurance. On the other hand, if you reopen a claim for benefits in which you have already served a 1-week waiting period, you do not serve another 1-week waiting period.
How long can you receive maternity and parental benefits?
A combination of maternity and parental benefits can be received up to a combined maximum of 52 or 78 weeks.
How much will you receive?
The basic rate used to calculate maternity and standard parental benefits is 55% of average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount.
In 2021, the maximum amount is $595 a week.
For extended parental benefits, this rate is 33% of average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount.
In 2019, the maximum amount is $357 a week.
This is how EI calculate your weekly benefit amount:
- Add your insurable weekly earnings from your best weeks based on information provided by you and your Record of Employment
- Divide that amount by the number of best weeks based on where you live
- Then multiply the result by 55% for maternity and standard parental benefits or by 33% for extended parental benefits
If your family income is $25,921 or less
You may be eligible to receive the family supplement if:
- your annual net family income is $25,921 or less
- you have at least one child under 18
- you or your spouse receive the Canada Child Benefit
Service Canada automatically adds your family supplement to your weekly benefit payments. You don’t need to take any action. Your total weekly amount cannot exceed $595.