employment insurance canada

Canada received 500,000 claims for Employment Insurance this week

Canada received a staggering 500,000 claims for Employment Insurance (EI) this week — more than 18 times the 27,000 claims that the government received this time last year.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed the numbers at a press conference outside of Rideau Cottage, where he remains in isolation with his family.

Although the numbers are shocking, they're not exactly surprising; COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the economy, and many Canadians will be out of job for weeks — or, potentially, months.

With major stores such as IKEA, Hudson's Bay, Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and Apple temporarily closing up shop, thousands of Canadian retail employees are relying on EI for income.

Fortunately, Canada's unprecedented $82 billion financial aid package promises temporary income support for workers and parents without paid sick leave, as well as extended EI benefits — plus the elimination of a one-week waiting period for EI payments.

If you learn that you'll be out of work, you should still apply for EI online via Service Canada — just be prepared to wait, as the system is currently inundated with requests.

Justin Trudeau called the number of calls to Service Canada "historic."

"I know people are anxious to get the help they deserve," Trudeau said. "Our government is working as fast as possible."

Lead photo by

KMR Photography

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