Employees are usually terminated with two classifications. Either the termination is with cause or without cause. The latter is usually due to a restructuring or lack of work.

EI was instituted for the purpose of ensuring that terminated employees are covered until their next job. If your termination of employment was without cause, ensure that you apply to collect employment insurance (“EI”) benefits through Service Canada’s online portal.

How Can I be Eligible for EI?

To be eligible for EI benefits, you need to meet the following criteria:
a. You were employed in insurable employment;
b. You lost your employment through no fault of your own;
c. You have been without work or pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks;
d. You have worked for the required number of insurable hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim (whichever is shorter);
e. You are ready, willing and able to work each day;
f. You are actively looking for work.

When Should I Apply for EI?

You should apply for EI as soon as you stop working. If there is a delay beyond four weeks, you may lose EI benefits.

Should I Still Apply for EI if I am Terminated with Cause?

If you had a “with cause” termination, obtaining EI can be difficult. However, despite this, it is best to apply given the high threshold to establish a just cause termination. Under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), the threshold to terminate for just cause must show that the employee engaged in “wilful misconduct”. This occurs where an employee has exhibited serious wrongdoing or has breached trust and loyalty with their employer.

After you apply for EI following a termination due to misconduct, a government agent will call the employer to gather information about the reasons for the termination. The employer will be obligated to justify why they terminated the employee which may require evidence of a breach of contract, employment condition or policy.

Can I Apply for EI if I Quit My Job?

If you resign from your employment, you are not entitled to receive EI benefits unless there was provable just cause for leaving your employment. These may constitute a constructive dismissal or incidences where there was harassment, discrimination or dangerous working conditions.

What is a Record of Employment (ROE)?

A ROE provides information on your employment history. The most common way to prove that you lost employment through no fault of your own is through your ROE.

Employers must issue an ROE each time an employee experiences an interruption in earnings. This is defined as the period of time when an employee has had or is anticipated to have seven days with no insurable earnings from their employer.

What are the Common Reasons for Issuing an ROE? What does Service Canada Do with the Information on the ROE?

Block 16 of the ROE allows the employer to state a reason for why they are issuing an ROE which will either be because they terminated your employment or laid you off.

If you lost your job due to a “Shortage of Work” or experienced a temporary lay-off, Code A will be used. If you were terminated, the employer will use Code M for a dismissal in Block 16.

In Block 18, your employer will specify if your termination was for cause or without cause. A description is not necessary. However, if your ROE is marked with Code M, Service Canada will likely require that you fill out a survey about your termination allowing you to provide reasons. Service Canada will then contact the employer to determine the correct code. If your application for benefits is denied, you should file a Request for Reconsideration within 30 days. This is another chance for you to give reasons why your termination does not amount to wilful misconduct.

What is the EI rate? How long can I receive EI Benefits?

The basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings for the previous year. As of January 1, 2021, the maximum annual insurable earnings for which you can obtain EI benefits is $56,300. This means the maximum benefit you can receive is $595 per week. You can receive benefits from 14 weeks to a maximum of 45 weeks depending on the unemployment rate in your region at the time you file your claim and the amount of insurable hours you have worked during the last 52 weeks or since your last claim, whichever is shorter.

If you are experiencing issues in connection to your EI entitlements after termination, Top Toronto employment lawyer, Stacey ball can help you determine your legal options. Please call us at 416-921-7997, extension 227.