At Work in Toronto

Social Security in Toronto

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Canada's social security system is set up to assist with disability, death, family allowances, medical care, old age, sickness and unemployment. The social security system is funded through deductions from salaries and wages, as well as contributions made from employers. Deductions are made from each paycheck you receive, reducing the total amount you earned. This amount is referred to as your net pay. Gross pay is the amount you earned before deductions.

There are two parts that employees in Canada contribute to: Employment Insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance (EI) provides temporary benefits to support to workers who experience unemployment, illness, pregnancy, caring for a newborn child, critically ill or injured person, or a family member who is terminally ill. Every employee working in the Canada will have a deduction on their pay check for EI. The contribution is 1.66% of earnings. The maximum amount of insurable earnings in Ontario is $51,700.


Employment Insurance (EI)provides benefits to workers who lose their job due to an unforeseen circumstance that is no fault of their own. This includes coverage for illness, maternity leave, and unemployment.  Individuals must apply for EI aid as soon as they stop working in order to receive benefits as soon as possible. Applications must be filed within 4 weeks of the last day or work, or the worker may no longer be eligible to receive the benefits.

The amount of benefits received is determined when you submit your application. In most cases, the rate for calculating your benefits is 55% of your weekly (insurable) wages. As of January 1, 2018, the maximum amount of yearly insurable earning is $51,700. If you make this amount or more, your maximum weekly benefit is capped at $547.

Apply for your EI benefits here

Maternity Leave and Maternity Pay

Maternity leave is also covered under your EI benefits. You ae eligible to received a maximum of 15 weeks of maternity benefits with your EI coverage. EI maternity benefits cover biological mothers who can no longer work because of pregnancy or giving birth. Surrogate mothers are also included under EI maternity benefits.

Apply for your EI maternity benefits here.

Social Insurance Number in Canada

In Canada, all individuals who wish to work or access government programs or benefits, must have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).  A SIN is a nine-digit number issued to one single person for their use only. You are required to apply for a SIN if you plan to work in Canada, even temporarily, if you wish to receive any benefits from the government.

Apply for your SIN here.

Update 18/08/2018


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Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).