Earlier this year, the federal government unveiled a number of changes to Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) program in its initial budget, including a shorter waiting period for EI benefits. The proposal was adopted in June 2016 and will go into effect on January 1, 2017.
Benefits are currently paid for 17 weeks, including a two-week waiting period. Starting January 1, 2017, the total benefit payment period will be 16 weeks — a one-week waiting period and 15 weeks of payments.
The federal government has published a draft regulation to change the EI Regulations’ provisions on the EI Premium Reduction Program (PRP) and the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program (SUB program).

If you have a LTD plan but no STD plan, a reduction in the LTD waiting period will help avoid a gap in coverage. Here’s what would happen if you do not amend your plan:

  • Week one (no EI benefits)
  • Week two to 15 (EI benefit period)
  • Week 16 (no EI or LTD benefits)

Next steps
The government has prepared a communications plan and intends to contact all plan sponsors that participate in the PRP or that have set up an eligible SUB plan to provide them with details about the legislative changes and the transition period.
Plan sponsors that participate in the PRP will have to assess the terms and conditions of their plans and determine whether they have to make changes to some of them to ensure their plan continues to meet the programs’ requirements.
The government has also prepared a strategic communications plan to inform the public about the changes to the EI Act and Regulations.