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Can I travel within or outside Canada while on EI?

Yes you can! Unlike many rumors out there that says you are not allowed to go on vacation, you are permitted to do so as long as you declare in your EI report that you are “away” or “not available to look for work”. By declaring your unavailability for the week(s) you were on vacation, EI system will simply not pay your benefit for that week (Sunday to Saturday).  For example, if you are going away on vacation on Monday and Tuesday, you will not be paid for those 2 days EI, therefore you are to be paid 3 out of 5 days; it still will count as 1 week of benefit payment. If you were on vacation for the entire week (Monday to Friday), no EI benefit will be paid out, therefore you don’t loose this week’s credit.

Keep in mind, each EI claim have a 1) total entitlement weeks and 2) expiry date. For example, if you are entitled to receive 37 weeks of EI, that means at 20th week, if you have decided to go on vacation for 2 full weeks, coming back on a Sunday, so you are available to be “available for work” on following Monday, you will be collecting your 21st week payment after your 2 weeks vacation.

In other word, your payment timeline just got pushed down 2 weeks. All you need to make sure is to collect your total entitlement weeks before your EI’s expiry date (52 weeks). Any unpaid EI benefit weeks will not be payable beyond the expiry of your claim.

If you are travelling away for more than 4 consecutive weeks, the system will freeze your claim for security reason. Therefore, when you come back, you will have to re-activate your claim (same procedure as when you file your first online application). The application system will recognize you have an unexpired claim and will re-activate it. You still have to wait up to 21 business days for it to be back and running. Keep visiting the reporting site to see if you can start reporting. If yes, that is an indication your claim has been re-activated.

Remember, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) shares your travel history with EI processing centre. If you don’t declare your travel abroad, EI integrity office will eventually send you a letter to inform you they have received your travel history and ask you to return the weeks of benefits you should have not entitled to.

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