A picture of sick person to highlight EI sickness benefits extended to 26 weeks.

EI Sickness Benefits Extended to 26 Weeks (Government of Canada benefits and programs)

The government has recently announced that they will be extending EI sickness benefits to 26 weeks. According to the government’s website, this will take effect as of December 18, 2022. Here are some of the details below.

EI Sickness Benefits 26 Weeks – Details

To get the extended sickness benefits, a person must qualify for sickness benefits and set up a new claim on or after December 18, 2022. A person will need to have at least 600 insurable hours in the last 52 weeks before the start date of their claim or the since the start of their last claim whichever is shorter. If a person qualifies, then they are eligible to receive up to 26 weeks of sickness benefits. A person on EI sickness benefits is paid 55% of their normal average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum of $638.00 per week. To qualify, your wages would have to decrease by at least 40% for at least one week. Finally, the reason you cannot work was because of medical reasons.


The change to the sickness benefits is part of the governments broader strategy of modernizing the EI program. The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough alluded to this when she said, “Our government has been clear: Canadians should have the supports they need to look after themselves and their families while recovering from an illness or injury. That’s why we’re working hard to build a more flexible and inclusive EI program for the 21st century. Extending EI sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks will provide workers in Canada with the time and flexibility they need to recover and return to work. With these measures, we’re making sure that workers across Canada are supported in the best way possible.” So we should expect even more changes in other areas of the EI program. And when these changes happen, we will keep you posted.