To start your claim or access your current claim call the EI Telephone Information Service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742) or for more information visit Temporary COVID-19 relief.
Changes to support you during COVID-19
There are some temporary changes to the EI program to help you access EI fishing benefits. The following changes will be in effect for 1 year and could apply to you:
- A minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada starting August 9, 2020
- If your region’s unemployment rate is higher than 13.1%, we’ll use the higher actual rate to calculate your benefits
- If you’re a fisher they will look at the earnings from your 2018, 2019 and 2020 summer or winter seasons to determine your benefit rate and establish your claim for the same season
- You’ll receive at least $500 per week before taxes but you could receive more
How much could you receive
Service Canada cannot tell you exactly how much you will receive without having processed your application.
Calculation of benefits
To calculate your weekly EI fishing benefit, consider your total earnings during your qualifying period. The earliest start date of the qualifying period is the week of March 1 for summer fishing or September 1 for winter fishing.
This is how your weekly benefit is calculated:
- Calculate your total self-employment earnings from fishing during your qualifying period—the last 31 weeks or from the start date of your last claim for EI benefits (we use the total earnings from the shorter period).
- Determine the unemployment rate in your region and select the divisor that applies at that unemployment rate (see Table 1). Temporary COVID-19 relief
- Divide your total self-employment earnings from fishing during your qualifying period by the applicable divisor. This gives your weekly insurable earnings from self-employment in fishing.
- If you have earnings from employment other than as a self-employed fisher, your total earnings from the last 26 weeks of that other employment are calculated, using only the weeks contained in the fishing qualifying period. Divide this amount by the applicable divisor or by the number of weeks worked, whichever is greater. This gives your weekly insurable earnings from regular employment.
- Add the results from Steps 3 and 4 together to find your total weekly insurable earnings.
- Service Canada compares your total weekly insurable earnings with the allowed maximum weekly amount, and selects the lower figure. The maximum weekly amount can vary from year to year and is based on the maximum insurable earnings for the calendar year. To find out more about the maximum weekly amount or the maximum insurable earnings for this year, visit the Web site at www.canada.ca or call our EI Telephone Information Service at 1-800-206-7218 (TTY: 1-800-529-3742).
- Multiply that lower figure by 55% to obtain the amount of your weekly benefit.
Table 1 – Divisors used to calculate benefits
|Regional rate of unemployment||Minimum divisor|
|6% or less||22|
|6.1% to 7%||21|
|7.1% to 8%||20|
|8.1% to 9%||19|
|9.1% to 10%||18|
|10.1% to 11%||17|
|11.1% to 12%||16|
|12.1% to 13%||15|
|13.1% or more||14|
Taxable EI benefits
EI benefits are taxable, no matter what type of benefits you receive. Federal and provincial or territorial taxes, where applicable, will therefore be deducted from your payment.
If you qualify for fishing benefits, you may receive up to 26 weeks of benefits within a period of 37 or 38 weeks, depending on the day of the week on which April 1 or October 1 falls. This period is called the benefit period.
The benefit period for a winter claim can start as early as the week of April 1 and must end no later than the week of December 15.
The benefit period for a summer claim can start as early as the week of October 1 and must end no later than the week of June 15.
The benefit period can be extended to a maximum of 52 weeks if you are claiming EI special benefits such as sickness benefits. The benefit period is extended by one week for each week of special benefits claimed.