Transitioning from CERB to EI

Hello CUPE members,

You all may know by now that the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is coming to an end on October 3rd. If you were receiving this benefit, your last payment should have been paid out already, and your transition to Employment Insurance (EI) is the next step. The new, temporary, version of EI that the government will be providing has made the eligibility requirements more lenient, in respect to the reality of the pandemic and its effect on jobs and the economy.

The new criteria is as follows and will be in effect for one year from September 27, 2020

  1. 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
  2. You only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you’ll receive a one-time credit of:
    • 300 insured hours if you’re applying for regular benefits
    • 480 insured hours if you’re applying for sickness, maternity, parental or caregiving benefits
  3. You’ll receive at least $500 per week before taxes, or $300 per week before taxes for extended parental benefits but you could receive more
    • If you’re a fisher, we’ll 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
  4. If you received the CERB, the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended

Your transition from CERB to EI will happen in one of two ways depending on what government agency was providing you with your CERB payments. The following information has been taken directly from the Canadian Government website.

If You Received The CERB Through Service Canada

In most cases, you do not need to apply for EI benefits. After you receive your last CERB payment, continue completing reports. We (Service Canada) will automatically review your file and your Record Of Employment (ROE), then start a claim for EI regular benefits if you qualify.

Please Note: You can view your file, ROE, and claim through your My Service Canada Account (MSCA).

If you don’t qualify for EI, you’ll be notified by mail.

You will need to apply for EI after your CERB ends if:
    •    you have a SIN that starts with a 9
    •    you’re self-employed, or
    •    you declared that you returned to work full-time on your CERB report

If You Received The CERB Through The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

You need to receive all your CERB payments before applying for EI benefits. You can apply after the end of your last CERB eligibility period. Visit EI benefits and leave to determine which benefit is right for your situation and to apply online.
We (Service Canada) recognize that you may experience difficulties applying online as we’re receiving a large volume of applications. If you’re unable to apply online, please try again later.

Once we’ve determined that you’re eligible to receive EI benefits and have completed your first biweekly report, you’ll receive your first payment. This should occur within 28 days of applying. If you apply for regular or sickness benefits, you’ll have to complete reports for as long as you receive benefits to continue getting paid.

Additional Information

If you would like to review any of this information on the Government of Canada website, or inquire about other benefits you may be eligible for, we recommend you visit:

If you were receiving your CERB payments from Service Canada, and would like to contact a CERB agent about the transition to EI, please call 1-833-966-2099.

If you would like to speak to someone at the CUPE 3261 office, please call 416-946-7620, or email your president Allan James at