Can I Get EI if I Quit My Job? Canada’s Employment Insurance Questions and Answers

Can I get EI if I quit my job? This is a very important question and something that a lot of people do not understand. Many people think that they have a better chance to collect Employment Insurance if they quit their job instead of being fired. This is false. Why is this so and can I collect EI if I quit?

Can I Get EI if I Quit My Job? Possible in A Few Cases but Difficult

The EI Digest defines voluntary leave or quit as ” the claimant and not the employer took the initiative in terminating the employer-employee relationship.” it goes on to say that “a claimant is disqualified from receiving any benefits if the claimant lost any employment because of their misconduct or voluntarily left any employment without just cause.”

And that is the key. A person who quits their job must have just cause or you can say a valid reason for doing so. As a result, the onus is on the claimant to prove that they had just cause in quitting their job. This is quite different from someone being fired where the employer has to prove misconduct.

What is Just Cause?

Section 29(c) of the EI Act defines it as below:

Just cause for voluntarily leaving an employment or taking leave from an employment exists if the claimant had no reasonable alternative to leaving or taking leave, having regard to all the circumstances, including any of the following:

  1. sexual or other harassment;
  2. obligation to accompany a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child to another residence;
  3. discrimination on a prohibited ground of discrimination within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act;
  4. working conditions that constitute a danger to health or safety;
  5. obligation to care for a child or a member of the immediate family;
  6. reasonable assurance of another employment in the immediate future;
  7. significant modification of terms and conditions respecting wages or salary;
  8. excessive overtime work or refusal to pay for overtime work;
  9. significant changes in work duties;
  10. antagonism with a supervisor if the claimant is not primarily responsible for the antagonism;
  11. practices of an employer that are contrary to law;
  12. discrimination with regard to employment because of membership in an association, organization or union of workers;
  13. undue pressure by an employer on the claimant to leave their employment, and;
  14. any other reasonable circumstances that are prescribed.

The other reasonable circumstances referred to in EIA 29(c)(xiv) are those which are prescribed by regulation Footnote1

What does the above mean? In layman’s terms, it means that you had to quit your job as you had no other choice based on the reasons mentioned in the EI Act. Also, it is not enough to say that you had a reason to quit, but you have to prove it and show that you tried to remedy the situation or look for an alternative etc. If a Benefits Officer looks at your application and sees that you had just cause, then you can be approve for EI.

Conclusion

It is possible to collect EI if you quit your job. However, you must prove that you had “just cause” in leaving your job. As seen above, this is not a casual reason but a last resort. Because of that, you must think long and hard if you are thinking on quitting your job. Especially, if you are wanting to collect EI while you are not working. Before making at decision, look at your situation and do your research as knowledge is power.

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