Taking Vacation While On Employment Insurance

Taking Vacation While On Employment Insurance is permitted. Rumor has it that you are not allowed to go on vacation, yes you can! So 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, you simply will not be paid your benefits for that week (Sunday to Saturday) by the EL system. For instance, if you plan to take a vacation on Monday and Tuesday, you will not be paid for those 2 days, you will only be paid 3 out of 5 days; it still will count as 1 week of benefit payment. If you are going on vacation for the entire week (Monday to Friday), you will not receive any EI benefit.

Beware that each EI claim have a 1 total entitlement weeks and 2 expiry date. If at 20th week you decide to go on vacation for 2 full weeks and you are already entitled to receive 37 weeks of EI benefits, you return on a Sunday, so you are available for work on following Monday, you will be collecting your 21st week payment after your 2 weeks vacation. However, your payment timeline just got pushed down 2 weeks. All you need to do is to make sure you collect your total entitlement weeks before the expiry date of your EI (52 weeks). Any unpaid EI benefit weeks will not be payable beyond the expiry of your claim.

The system has every right to freeze your claim for security reason if you are away for more than 4 consecutive weeks. 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 re-activate it after recognizing you have an unexpired claim. It will take up to 21 business days for it to be back and running. Make sure you visit the reporting site often to know when you can start reporting. If yes, that is an indication your claim has been re-activated.

Don’t forget that, 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 that you return the weeks of benefits you should have not entitled to.

Receiving EI while inside or outside of Canada

Generally speaking, you are not qualified for regular benefits while you are away from your area residence or from Canada. In other words, under special situations, if you show that you are available for work in Canada while away and you have informed Service Canada that you will be away temporarily, you may still receive regular El benefits.

You can be outside Canada for a period of seven consecutive days for the following reasons:

  • The purpose of attending the funeral of a close member of your family or a relative;
  • Accompanying a member of your close family or relative to a medical facility, provided that the treatment sought is not readily available in the family member’s area of residence in Canada;
  • Visiting a member of your immediate family who is seriously ill or injured; or
  • Attending a bona fide job interview.

Also, while away from Canada for a period of 14 consecutive days for the purpose of conducting a bona fide job search, you can still receive El benefits.

However, if you explain further that you can be reached if an employment opportunity presents itself during your absence and that you will be able to return to Canada within 48 hours, Service Canada will accept that you have proven your availability.

Please note that the system will pause your claim for assessment upon declaring your availability while outside of Canada.

You can also see the length period of a Canadian PR