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Can I Receive EI Benefits if I Quit My Job?

Can I receive EI benefits if I quit my job? It is an interesting question because a lot of people think it is better to quit your job then to be fired. However, if you quit your job, it makes it a lot harder to qualify for EI benefits. Why?

According to 6.3.0 of the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles voluntary separation or quitting “means that the claimant and not the employer took the initiative in terminating the employer-employee relationship.” Because of this, it is up to the claimant to show that they had a good reason to quit. What does that entail?

Can I Receive EI Benefits if I Quit My Job? Just Cause

Employment insurance defines a good reason as just cause. What is just cause? Subsection 29(c) of the EI Act states:

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.

So if I quit for one of the above reasons, I am then eligible to receive EI benefits? Not quite, there is one more requirement that you must fulfill.

No Reasonable Alternative

There had to be no reasonable alternative to fix the one of the eligible situations in the above paragraph. For example, could you go to the union if there was one to complain about the situation? Did you discuss the situation with your superior if it was possible to do so? Is there a human resource department to discuss the situation? Was there alternative work and so on.

6.4.2 of the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles gives three points in seeing if a situation meets the criteria for “no reasonable alternative”. They are as follows:

  • a determination of what the situation was that led to the voluntary separation;
  • whether other measures or reasonable alternatives which could have remedied this situation existed and/or were exercised; and
  • the claimant’s reasons for not using what appear to be reasonable solutions which were available.


If you had to quit your job based on any of the situations mentioned in Subsection 29(c) of the EI Act, you can potentially qualify for EI benefits as these reasons would be defined as “just cause”. However, you have to try to remedy the situation if it is possible to do so. However, if it is not possible to fix the situation and there are no other options to fix the situation, you ten have “no reasonable alternative” but to leave you job. You then would have met the EI criteria and it would be possible to collect EI benefits.

However, as seen above, this is not an easy decision to make and you should do your research and weigh everything out before you decide to quit your job. What happens if I get fired from my job? Can I get EI Benefits? Click here to find out!