Employment Insurance and Without Cause Termination

Can Your Employer Reduce Your Salary?

If you have been terminated without cause, you will be eligible to collect Employment Insurance (“EI”). If you were terminated for cause, you will not be eligible for EI. Without cause termination occurs where your employer terminates you without you having done anything seriously wrong to warrant the termination. The very purpose of EI is to provide temporary income support to unemployed workers who are searching for new employment. EI was created essentially for the purpose of assisting workers terminated without cause.

There are numerous reasons why an employer might dismiss you without cause. There might have been a shortage of work. The employer might have thought you weren’t a good fit. The employer might have decided to close shop. You might have done something wrong. It is important to know that simply doing something wrong will usually not amount to just cause for termination. Usually, you would have to do something serious to be terminated for cause, or otherwise do something less serious frequently enough that, cumulatively, or taken together, just cause for termination is established. Just cause is a difficult standard to meet and it is more likely for terminations to be without cause than with cause.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for EI, you must fulfil each of the following requirements:

  • a)  You were previously employed in insurable employment;
  • b)  You were terminated without cause (through no fault of your own);
  • c)  You have not worked or been paid for at least 7 consecutive days in the last 52 weeks;
  • d)  You have worked the required amount of insurable employment hours in the previous 52 weeks or since the start of your EI claim, whichever is shorter;
  • e)  You are ready, willing and able to work each day; and
  • f)  You are actively looking for new employment.

After your termination, your employer should submit to Service Canada your “Record of Employment”, which will tell Service Canada about your entitlement to EI.

Are you Eligible for EI if you quit Your Job?

An employee who quits their job must have done so with just cause in order to retain their entitlement to EI. This requires more than simply having a “good reason” to quit. Rather, you should be able to show that you were constructively dismissed, that you experienced harassment or discrimination, or that the work environment was unsafe. If you quit under these circumstances, you may nevertheless be entitled to EI. Otherwise, you will lose your entitlement to EI.

How Much Can You Receive? How Long Can You Receive?

The rate for calculating EI benefits for most people is 55% of their average insurable weekly earnings. In 2021, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $56,300. Taken together, this means that you can receive a maximum amount of $595 each week.

The amount of time during which you can continue to receive EI will depend partly on the unemployment rate of your region as well as the amount of insurable hours you have accumulated in the last year or since your last claim, whichever is shorter. You should be able to receive EI from between 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks. Note, however, that you may be entitled to an additional 5 weeks (thus a maximum of 50 weeks) if you are a seasonal worker.

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