Working While on Claim

Employment Insurance (EI) is Canada’s largest labour market program, providing income replacement to help individuals and their families, as well as training and support to help Canadians return to work. The Working While on Claim (WWC) pilot project increases the incentive for claimants to accept available jobs by allowing them to keep more of what they earn while on EI, as benefits are reduced by 50% of total earnings from working while on claim.

About the Initiative

The purpose of EI pilot projects, like the new WWC pilot project, is to conduct a test for a defined period, and to allow the Government to assess the labour market impacts of new approaches that are designed to assist the unemployed. The WWC pilot project, introduced on August 5, 2012, allows eligible claimants to keep EI benefits equaling 50% of every dollar earned while on claim up to 90% of the weekly insurable earnings used to calculate their EI benefit amount. This new pilot project supports the long-standing objective that it should always be more beneficial for claimants to accept available work while on EI, helping them to transition back to permanent employment. Example: William is a retail salesperson who has been laid-off. He receives EI regular benefits of $330 per week. He has found part-time work in a store that pays him a total of $450 per week. Under the previous WWC pilot project, William could earn wages equivalent to $75 or 40% of his weekly EI benefit payment with no reduction to his benefits. This allowed him to earn up to $132 without reducing his EI benefit rate. Earnings above that level reduced his benefit payment dollar-for-dollar. William's combined weekly earnings and EI benefit would have been $462. Under the new WWC pilot project, William's EI benefits are only reduced by 50% of his earnings from working while on EI. Therefore, his combined weekly income is now $555. This means William will keep $93 more per week than he would have under the previous pilot project.

Previous WWC pilot project
($75 or 40% of benefits rate)

New WWC pilot project
(50% earnings allowance)

Weekly insurable earnings used to calculate the EI benefit rate

$600

Weekly insurable earnings used to calculate the EI benefit rate

$600

Weekly EI benefit rate (55% of $600)

$330

Weekly EI benefit rate (55% of $600)

$330

Gross earnings during an EI week

$450

Gross earnings during an EI week

$450

Allowable earnings
(40% of the weekly EI benefit rate)

 

$132

Allowable earnings
(50% of gross earnings)

 

$225

Amount to be deducted from weekly EI benefits
($450 - $132)

 

$318

Amount to be deducted from weekly EI benefits
($450 - $225)

 

$225

Resulting EI payment
($330 - $318)

$12

Resulting EI payment
($330 - $225)

$105

Previous TOTAL INCOME

$462

New TOTAL INCOME

$555

Who Will Benefit

The new WWC pilot project applies to EI claimants collecting regular, fishing, parental, and compassionate care benefits.

Initiative Update

The new WWC pilot project began on August 5, 2012. Since the introduction of the new WWC pilot project, some claimants have indicated that they cannot find additional work beyond approximately one day per week and are experiencing difficulty in transitioning to the new pilot project rules. As a result, an amendment to the pilot project has been introduced. Since January 6, 2013, EI recipients who had earnings between August 7, 2011 and August 4, 2012, and were eligible to benefit from the WWC pilot project rules, have the option of reverting to the rules that existed under the previous WWC pilot project (i.e., if claimants earned less than $75 or 40% of their weekly benefits, whichever was greater, EI benefits were not reduced and, once above that threshold, their benefits were reduced dollar for dollar). Effective January 6, 2013, eligible claimants were able to elect to revert to the previous pilot project rules up to 30 days after their last EI benefit payment. This amendment applies retrospectively to August 5, 2012.

Find Out More

For more information, please visit the Service Canada website.

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