People receiving Employment Insurance (EI) payments are responsible for conducting searches for a new job, documenting their search activities, and reporting the same to Service Canada.

In January 2013, the Connecting Canadians with Available Jobs (CCAJ) initiative was introduced to help unemployed people on EI benefits stay connected with available jobs. The initiative is designed to link claimants to jobs in their local region that match their skills and also, to offer them additional support to find work.

Suitable Employment

The CCAJ initiative aims to connect unemployed people to suitable jobs. It also ensures that the job opportunities for a claimant would provide a higher income than the amount they are receiving as their EI benefit payment.

Several factors govern the term ‘suitable employment‘:

Personal circumstances. E.g. job opportunities may not be deemed suitable employment if:

  • The claimant’s health and physical capabilities do not permit them to commute to the new workplace or perform the job at the workplace; or,
  • The work hours are not congenial to the claimant’s family obligations.

Please see the recent changes page for examples.

Working conditions/wages. E.g. job opportunities may not be considered suitable employment if:

  • The position offered has been vacant due to a labor dispute (strike or lockout);
  • The wage offered is lower than the minimum wage in that province or territory or in the claimant category; or,
  • The working conditions are unsafe.

Hours of work. All hours of work outside a claimant’s previous work schedule may be deemed suitable employment including part-time work, shift work, hours per day, etc.

Commute. E.g. job opportunities may be considered to be suitable employment if the workplace is within a one-hour commute from the claimant’s home.

Reasonable Job Searches

As highlighted earlier, a person receiving EI benefits is required to conduct searches to find a job. Reasonable job search activities include registering with job sites/aggregators and/or employment agencies, preparing a résumé and/or cover letter, attending job search workshops or career fairs, networking and connecting with prospective employers, submitting applications, and attending interviews.

Although proof from employers or website registration confirmation emails are not required, all of the above search activities should be recorded including the results of those efforts.

Support Tools

Some of the tools offered by the CCAJ initiative to help unemployed people find work in their local region include:

Job Bank and Job Alerts. The Job Bank features job openings from more than 500 occupations along with additional information such as sample résumés, ways to find unadvertised and subsidized jobs, etc. The Job Alerts system offered on the Job Bank website allows users to subscribe and receive job postings from a variety of sources to their email or RSS feed twice a day.

Claimant Category

EI claimants are categorized under the CCAJ initiative to define suitable employment for each person and the scope of their job search. The categories are:

  • Long-tenured worker;
  • Frequent claimant and; and,
  • Occasional claimant.

Here are the details for each category.

If you are aware of other tools that are available to assist EI claimants, please share in the comments section.

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1 Comment

  1. Jess @ Best Credit Cards Canada on July 14, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    EI is such an important program and helps many people who need it (although, if it is your only source of income, I can imagine it does not feel like a lot of money). I benefited from EI while I was on my maternity leave.

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