E.I weekly benefits estimation

E.I. maximum insurable earnings is $51,300 since January 1st, 2017. This means any earning above will be cap at the maximum weekly benefit of $543. Remember, your E.I. benefits are taxable, you will receive T4E for tax your CRA declaration.

Generally speaking, you can estimate your E.I. weekly benefits by multiplying your weekly gross income by 55%, consider your weekly incomes are steady. However, the detail of a more accurate calculation is based upon the rule of Variable Best Weeks. Briefly speaking, it is to take your highest combined weekly gross earnings (min 14 to max 22 weeks) from your last 52 weeks work, divided by VBW divisor, then multiply by 55% with a max cap of $543.

This is how it calculates:

    1. Find your average insurable earningsE.I. processing finds your highest paid weeks (min 14 to max 22 weeks) in the last 52 weeks based on your regional unemployment rate. (e.g. Toronto: 6.6% unemployment rate => 21 is the highest combined weeks used and also the divisor). In an situation where E.I. applicant worked less than the determined benefit weeks (21), let’s say 18 weeks total, in this case, E.I. processing will use all the combined income from the 18 weeks and divided by 21 (divisor).
      Average weekly earnings = (Total highest combined weekly gross income in the past X weeks)
      …………………………                                                                (divisor)
    2. Determine your E.I. weekly benefit once your average weekly earnings has been calculated, E.I. processing will use this amount to multiply by 55%. Maximum E.I. weekly payable is $543/week cap. You are paid which ever the lowest.
      E.I. weekly benefit (max $543/week) = (Average weekly earning) X 55%
Number of Variable Best Weeks to use
Regional rate of unemploymentHighest combined weeks / divisor
6% or less22
6.1% to 7%21
7.1% to 8%20
8.1% to 9%19
9.1% to 10%18
10.1% to 11%17
11.1% to 12%16
12.1% to 13%15
13.1% or more14


The chart below gives you an estimation of your E.I. weekly benefit based on a
full-time earning paid equally all the way until the last week of work.


Higher E.I. benefit amount for low-income family claimants

If your net family income is lower than $25,921 per year, that you have children and you or your spouse receives the Canada Child Tax Benefit, you are considered a member of a low-income family. In this circumstances, you will be eligible to receive the EI Family Supplement which is calculated based on your net family income. This additional top-up is calculated automatically through shared information from Canada Revenue Agency.

The Family Supplement rate is calculated based on several factors:

      1. Your net family income up to a maximum of $25,921 per year; and
      2. Number of children in the family and their ages

The Family Supplement may increase your benefit rate up to 80% of your average insurable earnings. If you and your spouse claim EI benefits at the same time, only one of you can receive the Family Supplement. It is generally better for the spouse with the lower benefit rate to receive the supplement. If your income level rises, the Family Supplement gradually decreases, so that when the maximum income of $25,921 is reached, no supplement is payable.

Related topic:

Working while receiving E.I. benefits

2017 Tax return – EI T4E