On November 25, 2022, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced the Federal Government's permanent extension of EI Sickness Benefits from 15 to 26 weeks, while visiting the Canadian Cancer Society's regional care center in Vancouver – the full statement is available here. This change will provide approximately 169,000 Canadians annually with additional time and flexibility to recover so they can return to work after an illness or quarantine.
Qualified workers who establish a new claim on or after December 18, 2022, will be eligible for the increased benefits. EI sickness benefits are paid at 55% of the applicant's average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum entitlement of $638 for 2022. To qualify, claimants of EI sickness benefits must demonstrate
- they are unable to work for medical reasons;
- their regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week;
- they accumulated at least 600 insured hours of work in the 52 weeks before the start of their claim or since the start of their last claim, whichever is shorter; and
- if it weren't for their medical condition, they would otherwise be available to work.
To align with this change, the maximum length of unpaid medical leave available to federally regulated private-sector employees will be increased from 17 to 27 weeks under the Canada Labour Code, starting on the same date.
Employers who provide top-ups via a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) Plan may wish to review their SUB Plans given this change.
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