Maternity Benefits

Congratulations! Once you are pregnant, you will be qualify for E.I. maternity and parental benefits. Both benefits can be linked together during application, just make sure to choose the right option. Maternity benefits is a 15 weeks benefits that can start as soon as 12 weeks (as of December 3rd, 2017) prior to your baby’s due date or 17 weeks after the birth of your child. Parental benefits is a maximum 35 weeks or more that can be shared by the both parent. If the father of the child doesn’t want to apply for his parental benefits, the mother will usually take them all. This make the total of 50 weeks, or 1 year of E.I. maternity/parental benefits as we all familiar with. 

As of December 8th, 2017, new measures have been implemented on Parental Benefits.

Once again, you will have to serve a 1 weeks non paid waiting period and the official payment week starts from the third week. You payment title will begin as maternity benefits, then is will automatically convert to parental benefits. Your weekly entitlement remains the same amount.

How many hours do I need to qualify?

You need to have a minimum of 600 cumulative hours in the past year, from the day you stopped working, to meet the basic qualifying hours.


How much E.I. weekly benefit amount will I receive?

Current maximum is $543 per week and is paid out every two weeks through direct deposit. Please refer to our E.I. benefit amount estimation page for more details.

You may receive higher E.I. benefits (Family Supplement) if you are low-income family. Read more.

What documents do I need to provide for my Maternity benefits application?

Record of Employment(s). Make sure to submit all your ROE within the past 52 weeks to boost your insurable earning, therefore to receive higher benefit week amount. 

How long will I wait to receive my first Maternity benefits payment?

The typical wait time to process an E.I. claim is up to 28 days. You should receive a first letter from mail, providing you an access code and instructions to create your Service Canada online account. There will be a 2 weeks non-paid weeks before your first maternity benefits week begins. If you have registered for direct deposit, you should expect your payment to arrive roughly 1 month after your application. 

Do I need to complete E.I. report?

The online application will asked if you would like to be exempted from E.I. reporting. If you checked “yes” you will not have to bother completing your bi-weekly E.I. report. However, if you have made earnings during your benefit period, you have to manually call Service Canada E.I. service line (1-800-206-7218) and press “0” to speak to a live agent to manually deduct your earnings from your E.I. benefit from the specific week(s) you made earning. 

What if I’m sick before pregnancy. Can I also receive E.I. sickness benefits?

The answer is YES. If you have medical proof from your doctor that you are experiencing sickness due to pregnancy, you will be able to qualify for E.I. sickness benefit. E.I. program states that if all benefits are under special benefit, there will not be a cap on your entitlement weeks. In other word, your E.I. will will surpass the maximum 1 year expiry date.


(Note: Waiting period has been reduced to 1 week.)


  1. Make sure to request a ROE from your employer with code “D” (illness) for reason for separation.
  2. Make sure to apply your E.I. under sickness benefit, however the application will ask you if you are pregnant, make sure to check YES, then further questions will appear to link your entitlement to maternity and parental benefit automatically.
  3. Ensure to get your doctor’s note stating the reason of illness and the duration of your illness period (from when to when). E.I. office can only pay your sickness benefit based on the weeks doctor said your need to rest.
  4. While collecting sickness benefit, you are still require to complete your E.I. report until claim converts to maternity/parental, then you will be exempt from reporting.  


Further related topics:

Can I work part-time while on maternity leave.

How to apply for my child’s first birth certificate, health card child benefit and Social Insurance Number?