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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer

your path to accessing financial resources


Resource Profile

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit

Government of Canada
Income supplement
Early Stage, Metastatic

Short-term financial assistance with a benefits period up to 26 weeks. The amount paid is approximately 55% of your average weekly earnings. The amount paid does not exceed $650 per week.   

  • You are unable to work due to your illness and/or treatment.
  • You were employed in insurable employment (check your paystub to see if premiums paid to EI) OR  you are self-employed and enrolled in the EI Special Benefits program
  • Your normal weekly earnings have been reduced by more than 40%.  
  • You worked a minimum of 420 to 700 hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim (whichever is shorter).

(If you are not able to continue with your present employment but are still able willing and able to work, you may want to review the information about ).

You will need the following information before applying:

  • Your SIN
  • Your mother’s maiden name
  • Mailing AND residential address (if no residential address, apply in person – see below)
  • Your work history over the past 52 weeks or since the start of your last claim, including employer names, dates of work, reasons for stopping work, and dates/earnings of highest paid weeks; if self-employed and registered in the EI Special Benefits programs, you will simply have to supply the dates worked and your net earnings
  • A completed medical certificate from your family doctor or oncologist stating that you cannot work and how long you will be unable to work.
  • Banking information if you wish to use Direct Deposit for your benefit payments.

You do not need your Record of Employment (ROE) from your employer at the time of applying, but your employer will eventually need to supply this information to Service Canada.   The important thing is to apply as soon as you can after work ends.  You risk not being eligible for benefits if you delay the application longer than four weeks from your last date of employment.

Applications are completed online.  If you do not have access to a computer or feel you need assistance, you can go to a Service Canada centre in your area where they will guide you through completing the application on-line.  You may need to make an appointment, depending on your area.

After you Apply

You will be mailed an EI access code shortly after applying.  This does not mean your claim is approved.  This code enables you to access information about your claim on-line or over the phone.  Instructions on how to use this code will be included.

Your claim is usually processed within 4-6 weeks.  If approved, your payments will start to be calculated one week after the start of your benefit period.  This one week “waiting period” is applied to every applicant as a type of deductible.  (So, for example, if your approved benefit period starts June 1, your benefits won’t start to be calculated until June 8 with the payment made on the next scheduled payment date.  EI benefits are paid every two weeks, usually on a Friday.)

If your claim is not approved, you will be notified by mail or phone at some point during the 4-6 week review period.

Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland & Labrador, Yukon, Nunavut, Northwest Territories

For information on how to request a reconsideration of a denial of benefits, click here

Phone: 1-800-622-6232
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