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EI Fact Sheet #3

EI Fact Sheet #3


Employment Insurance Maternity Benefits

What are Employment Insurance (EI) Maternity Benefits?

EI Maternity Benefits are benefits that are payable to the biological mothers (including surrogate mothers) who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth to a child.

 What is the eligibility criteria for EI Maternity Benefits?

To be entitled to maternity or parental benefits you must show that:

What information do I need to apply for Employment Insurance Maternity Benefits?

You must submit an application online at www.canada.ca.

You will need the following information when applying:

  • your social insurance number;
  • your mother’s maiden name;
  • your mailing and residential addresses including your postal code;
  • your banking information for direct deposit ;
  • the expected or actual date of your child’s birth;
  • names, addresses, dates of employment and reason for separation for all your employers over the last 52 weeks;
  • Your detailed version of the facts if you quit or were dismissed from any employer in the last 52 weeks;
  • The dates, Sunday to Saturday, and earnings for each of your highest paid weeks of insurable earnings in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last claim whichever is the shorter period.

How long can I receive EI Maternity Benefits for?

You are eligible to receive EI Maternity Benefits for a maximum of 15 weeks. You are able to begin collecting EI Maternity Benefits either up to twelve (12) weeks before your expected due date or within 17 weeks of the actual expected week of birth. The date you file your claim is very important in order that you may receive the maximum maternity benefits you are entitled to.

Special Note:

When a pregnancy terminates within the first 19 weeks of pregnancy, EI considers this an illness. Therefore, sickness benefits may be paid for as long as all of the conditions for receiving sickness benefits continue to be met.

When a pregnancy terminates after 19 weeks of pregnancy, the claim for benefits can be considered for maternity benefits as long as the conditions for maternity benefits are met.

What if my child is hospitalized after birth?

If your child is hospitalized after birth, then the 17 week limit can be extended for every week your child is in the hospital up to 52 weeks – following the week of your child’s birth. You are still eligible to receive benefits for a maximum of 15 weeks, but payments can be delayed until your child is home. For more information on how to extend payments up to 52 weeks, please contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218.

When will I start receiving my EI Maternity Benefits?

If you have all the required information and you qualify for EI Maternity Benefits, you will start receiving payments within approximately 28 days from the date of filing your claim.

Do I need to serve a waiting period to receive EI Maternity Benefits?

Yes. Prior to 2017 the waiting period was two weeks. Effective January 1, 2017 the waiting period is one week. How long can I receive EI Maternity Benefits if my spouse is receiving Employment Insurance Parental Benefits?

If you are receiving a combination of maternity and parental leave benefits, you may qualify to receive payments for a combined maximum of 61 weeks. For more information on combined benefit payments, please contact Service Canada. 

For additional information regarding Employment Insurance Maternity Benefits contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218or online at www.canada.ca.

If you wish to contact the Pensions and Benefits unit, please email us at pensionsandbenefits@opseu.org

This publication contains general information and is intended as a reference only. It is not intended as a substitute for independent legal advice regarding your particular situation.