Unemployment Benefits in Montreal


Unemployment in Canada is around 7.2% and unemployment in Montréal is around 9%.

Québec's Emploi-Québec is an agency within the Minsistère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale. Its mission is to contribute to developing employment and the workforce and to combat joblessness, poverty and social exclusion with a view to economic and social growth. It also provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs).

Who is Eligible?

You are eligible to receive payments if you:

  • have paid premiums into the system
  • lost your employment through no fault of your own
  • have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks
  • have worked for the required number of insurable hours (hours worked in an employment, for either one or more employers, according to the terms of a contract of service, either written or verbal, for which the employee was paid wages by the employer) in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter
  • are ready, willing, and capable of working each day
  • are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them).

Expats who have obtained a work permit and legal immigration status and who fulfill the requirements are eligible to receive EI.

Apply as soon as you have stopped working, even if your employer has not issued your Record of Employment (ROE) yet. If you delay applying for benefits beyond four weeks after your last day of work, you risk losing benefits.


The basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings. As of January 1, 2012, the maximum insurable earnings amount is $45,900. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $485 per week.

Total earnings are determine for the 26 consecutive weeks up to your last day of work. This is done by determining the number of weeks in which you worked during this period. A divisor is determined that corresponds to your regional rate of unemployment, then the total earnings for the last 26 weeks is divided by the higher of the following two numbers: the number of weeks in which you worked during this period; or the corresponding divisor. This number is then multiplied by 55% to obtain the amount of your weekly benefits.

For example, in the last 26 weeks, Julie worked 26 weeks and earned $10,400. She lives in a region where the unemployment rate is 13.1%. The divisor is therefore 14. In this case, we use the number of weeks of work, since it is greater than the divisor. To calculate Julie's weekly average insurable earnings, we divide her income by the number of weeks of work as follows: $10,400 ÷ 26 = $400. To figure out the amount of her weekly benefits, we calculate 55% of $400, which equals $220.

You may receive EI regular benefits for a period ranging from 14 to 45 weeks. This depends on your region and on the number of hours of insurable employment that you accumulated during your qualifying period (usually the last 52 weeks before the start date of your claim). Benefits are paid by direct deposit.

The basic rate and the maximum insurable earnings amounts are reviewed each year. Use the benefits finder to determine example benefits.

How to Claim a Benefit

To receive EI benefits, you can apply online or at a Service Canada Centre. Completing the EI application online can take about 60 minutes. It is important to read the following instructions and gather all necessary information before starting your application for EI Benefits.

    Required Documents:
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Mother's maiden name
  • Mailing and residential addresses (including postal codes)
  • Complete banking information (branch number, financial institution name and number, and your account number)
  • Employment details (names, addresses, dates of employment, and reasons employment ended, weeks where earnings before deductions were less than $225)

Shortly after you file your EI application, you will receive an EI benefit statement. You must complete and submit EI reports every two weeks to receive benefits. The statement will tell you the date you have to submit your first EI report, access code, and will include detailed instructions on how to submit your EI reports. You can submit reports by the EI Internet Reporting Service or call the EI Telephone Reporting Service at 1-800-531-7555. While you are receiving EI regular benefits and looking for a job it is important that you document your job search efforts. You are not required to have employers sign your job search form or provide you with a letter confirming that you have applied for a job.

Claiming Benefits from Outside of Canada

Certain persons working outside Canada may be entitled to benefits under Canada's EI program. If you are working outside Canada for a Canadian company or the Canadian government, you are usually covered by EI. However, you are not insured by Canada's EI program if your job is covered by the country in which you are working. Other cases in which you may be entitled to benefits:

  • Last employment was in Canada, but you now reside in United States
  • Permanent residence in a country other than Canada and the United States and you are applying for maternity, parental or compassionate care benefits
  • You are a commuter - a resident of Canada or the United States (U.S.) who regularly crosses the Canada/U.S. border between their residence and workplace.

For more information,
Service Canada Centre - Sub-Unit of interstate claim processing
Address: P.O. Box 10800, Station Ste-Foy; Québec, QC G1V 5B4
Tel: 1 877 486-1650

More info on applying, benefits and exceptions can be found on Service Canada's Employment Insurance Regular Benefits.

Update 21/05/2013


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