The federal government of Canada is extending Employment Insurance sickness benefits to 26 weeks. Previously, an eligible applicant was only entitled to receive 15 weeks of sickness benefits under the Employment Insurance Act.
The extended Employment Insurance sickness benefits will be effective for any applications starting on December 18, 2022.
Extended Employment Insurance sickness benefits are the first step in a major overhaul of Employment Insurance benefits. Greater reforms are set to be announced before the end of the year.
The move to extend Employment Insurance sickness benefits is an important step by the government to recognize that many employees are becoming ill or injured and are not provided with the income support they need, for long enough periods of time.
The move also helps bridge the gap for employees who have access to long-term disability benefits but not short-term disability benefits. Most long-term disability benefits policies have lengthy eligibility wait times that often reach between 4 and 6 months. Those who do not have short-term disability benefits to rely upon during that eligibility period can be able to access Employment Insurance sickness benefits during that period of time.