What’s Happening at the YWCA

News & Events from Employment & Learning

Employment Insurance

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, your YWCA Saskatoon’s Employment and Learning Centre has closed its doors physically.  However, we remain open to telephone services, email services, and online services, via Facebook.

In order to support your job search and to ensure you maintain your job search momentum, the Employment and Learning Center will offer you daily job search advice and support.  This will include a number of ideas to support your job search that you can complete from home.

Today’s post is another post in the series….

Due to the COVID – 19 situation, many workers may be unable to work because of illness, injury, quarantines or shortage of work.

On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Media reports indicate that over 500,000 Canadians applied for EI Last week and there are long lines at Service Canada Centres, including Saskatoon’s Centre at Market Mall.


There are two types of EI that apply if you lost your job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. First, there is EI sickness benefits that provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement for employees unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine. If you’re quarantined, you can apply for sickness benefits.  And second, EI regular benefits apply to people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, such as mass layoffs or a shortage of work.

While the percentage of the money you can receive varies from person to person, according to the federal government, for most people, the basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55 percent of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount of $573 a week. You can receive EI from 14 weeks to a maximum of 45 weeks.

The COVID-19-related changes to the EI system announced this month will speed up access to sickness benefits, but they won’t change who qualifies for EI in the first place.

According to the Government of Canada, you qualify for regular EI if you:

  • Were employed in insurable employment
  • Lost your job through no fault of your own
  • Have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks
  • Have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter
  • Are ready, willing and capable of working each day
  • Are actively looking for work.

If you don’t meet these requirements, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced an Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks for workers who do not have access to paid sick leave or and employment insurance. This would include:

  • The self-employed, who are sick, quarantined or who have been directed to self-isolate
  • Those taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent or other sick dependents
  • EI-eligible and non EI-eligible working parents who must stay home without pay to care for their children.

If you’re in a quarantine or sickness situation, Service Canada has waived the regular one-week waiting period and set up a special COVID-19-related hotline at 1-833-381-2725.

You can apply online at the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/apply.html

NOTE:  You will need proof of employment documentation as well as documentation from a medical practitioner.

You can apply for regular EI using a record of employment and other personal documentation at the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/apply.html

NOTE: It can take up to 60 minutes to fill out the online forms if you are lucky.

For more information on the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit, check out the Federal Government’s website at:


Together, we will get through this difficult time.  Your Employment and Learning staff are doing their best to serve you remotely, through email, telephone, and social media services.  Should you have any questions or require assistance in your job search, feel free to contact any of your Employment and Learning staff for support by calling 306-986-2873.

Stay motivated; stay healthy as you achieve your employment goals.