Working While on EI Employment Insurance in Canada: How Much Can I Earn?

There is a misconception that if you begin to work while on Employment Insurance (EI) you’ll lose your EI benefits.

This is incorrect – you could still receive part of your EI benefits, while keeping all the earnings from your job.

However, there are criteria you must meet to be eligible to keep receiving EI benefits while working.

If you’re already receiving EI benefits, then you qualify to work while on EI.

How Much Can I Earn from Working While On EI?

Here’s the way it works: you’ll get to keep 50% of your EI benefits for every dollar earned,  up to 90% of your earnings for the week prior.

Anything earned above that threshold will get deducted dollar-for-dollar.

If you work a full week, you won’t be eligible for EI – regardless of how much you make.

But no matter how much you earn or whether you receive any EI benefits, you’ll be able to keep all your earnings.

Example

Sarah works as a teller at a bank and loses her job when they shut down her branch. Before losing her job, she was earning $700 a week. With EI benefits, she now receives $385 ($700 x 55%). She finds a part-time job at another bank working 3 days a week and earns $400 per week.

Since 90% of her prior earnings is $630 (700 x 90%) and she is earning below that, her benefits will only be reduced by 50% on the dollar. So, her EI benefits will decrease by $200 (400 x 50%). Sarah’s new EI benefit amount will equal $185 (385 – 200).

People leaving work

What Do I Do If I Start Earning While On EI?

If you’re already on EI, you don’t need to apply for anything once you start working.

The only thing that will change is that you will have to declare your earnings on the biweekly report you are required to fill out to continue to be eligible for EI benefits.

On the report, you’ll be asked to specify things like:

  • Dates and hours worked
  • Your earnings prior to any deductions (even if you haven’t been paid yet)
  • Hours spent in training or at school and any earnings or allowance that you got for it

You can submit your report through one of two methods: either through the Internet Reporting Service or over the phone by calling 1-800-531-7555.

You would have received a benefits statement in the mail after applying for EI.

This statement will have a 4-digit access code that will allow you to submit the report through the Internet Reporting Service or over the phone.

Every time you submit a report, you’ll be told what date you need to submit your next one.

You’ll have to submit it within 3 weeks of that date.

Did You Know?

The Government of Canada’s Job Bank has 65,000 jobs advertised on average each month

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many hours are you allowed to work while on EI?
  • What happens if I work while on EI?

Tara Al-Khudairi is a freelance personal finance writer who has worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.