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Understanding Employment and Social Development Canada’s Latest Changes to EI

Employment Insurance (EI) has undergone a significant change. The Government of Canada has extended sickness coverage from 17 weeks to 26 weeks. This new timeframe will officially go into effect on December 18th, 2022.

The additional nine weeks was the government’s response to a widespread survey of employers and employees. The goal of the update was to improve the flexibility and inclusivity of the EI program.

Now you may be wondering: how does this change affect your organization? And will this update benefit both employers and employees? Keep reading to learn more about why this change was made and how it benefits your business.

How is Employment Insurance (EI) Changing?

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) conducted a widespread survey of businesses and employees to gauge the effectiveness of the EI program. After analyzing responses, the agency determined that extending the EI timeframe is in the best interest of both parties and the Canadian economy.

The monetary details remain the same — qualified claimants will still receive 55% of earnings up to a maximum of C$638 per week. So, what changed? The biggest confirmed change is the additional nine weeks employees are entitled to before moving to an employer’s long-term disability (LTD) program.

According to Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment for Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, “The last two years have shown us just how important EI is, but also how much better Canada’s system could be. That’s why we’re working closely with employers, workers, unions, and other partners across the country to make EI fairer, simpler, and more flexible.”

Qualtrough believes this change will benefit Canada’s workforce and the economy overall. She says, “Modernizing a system that serves millions of Canadians each year will have serious implications on our economy and its workforce, and we’re taking the time needed to get it right.”

What Does This Change Mean for Your Business?

The extension of EI sickness coverage allows businesses to follow suit by extending the elimination period of long-term disability programs. 

The elimination period is a stated time frame during which the employee must be injured, disabled, or ill before receiving LTD benefits. The most common timeframe is 90 days, but it can range between 60 days to 365 days. 

Extending elimination periods allows organizations to reduce the overall costs of LTD programs. A more extended elimination period gives injured or disabled employees more time to recover before receiving LTD benefits from the organization.

Ultimately, all of this translates to cost savings for employers. The Government of Canada will now provide more extended benefits, giving injured or sick employees assistance without tapping into the company’s LTD program.

Partner with Windley Ely to Optimize Your LTD Program

Organizations have the potential to update their long-term disability programs in response to the new Employment Insurance timeframe. 

Yet, it can be challenging to understand exactly how to update your program to maximize savings while still providing quality coverage to those who need it.

Windley Ely is an industry-leader in workplace disability management. We help clients in all industries monitor employee absences during the EI sickness phase to identify early and safe return to work opportunities, so they can further reduce the number of claims going to LTD. 

Are you looking for expert guidance in how your business should respond to changes to the EI program? Book a discovery call with our experts today to discover how we can help.

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