You may be eligible for Employment Insurance (or EI) when your contract expires.

For more information, please click on this link, which will direct you to our new Employment Insurance pamphlet. Additional information is below.

You can apply for EI after what is called an ‘interruption in earnings’ occurs. Service Canada is more concerned with when you are paid, as opposed to when you work. The ‘interruption in earnings’ occurs following your final pay of the semester.
McMaster will need to issue a ROE (or Record of Employment) with 7 days thereafter. This is done automatically and uploaded to Service Canada. You will need to formally apply for EI, and it should be processed without issue once the ROE is uploaded. If you haven’t been on EI in the past 52 weeks, you will need to serve a one week ‘withholding period’ and the first EI money will be thereafter. If you have already been on EI, there shouldn’t be a withholding period.

EI eligibility is based on working a minimum number of hours, and varies from region-to-region and changes from month-to-month based on the Regional Rate of Unemployment.  Likewise, the maximum number of weeks that you can collect EI for varies based on the same criteria.  The region is based on where you reside, not where you work. For example, as of April 2018, if you live in Hamilton you would need to have worked at least 700 hours in the past 52 weeks and could collect benefits for a maximum of 36 weeks. For a full list of regions, please click here. For sessional faculty, each 3.0 credit course should be credited with at least 238 hours on your ROE.

In most cases, this means that only sessionals who have worked the equivalent of three 3.0 credit courses or Post-Doctoral Fellows will be eligible.  In most cases, sessionals who have worked less than the equivalent of three 3.0 credit courses, and virtually all TAs, will not have worked enough hours to meet the eligibility requirements. More detailed information about EI eligibility and benefits can be found here.

The basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings. As of January 1, 2021, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $56,300. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $595 per week.

If you need more information, please feel free to contact us at 905 525 9140 x24056 or