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

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in News

Someone just spotted one of the weirdest looking fish washed up in Canada

Bear in Calgary caught eating Halloween pumpkins while residents were sleeping

Vancouver woman shoved out of bus after spitting on a fellow passenger

Air Canada and WestJet bicker over plans to refund airline tickets

Poppy donation boxes in Canada will soon take credit cards

COVID internment camps in Canada don't exist despite what you might have heard

Canada won't be having a snap election this fall

Someone is setting fire to toilet paper at Walmart stores in Canada