6. 910 Hour Rule
New entrants to the labour market (individuals who have never worked in Canada or have not worked in the past two years) must work 910 hours (23 weeks full-time) prior to losing a job to qualify for EI. Workers who have been in the labour market longer than two years must have worked between 420 hours (11 weeks full-time) and 700 hours (18 weeks full-time) depending on their regional unemployment rate. New entrants to the labour market thus face a higher bar for qualifying to access EI benefits.
The 910 hour rule is designed so that those who have not spent a significant amount of time contributing to EI in recent years are required to pay more into the system before they can collect benefits.
The 910 hour rule applies most frequently to immigrants and younger workers.
Immigrants tend to live in large urban areas. As a result, some cities end up with large populations without access to the program, putting stress on local communities and provincial governments.
Neville and Valeria live in the same economic region, were each hired on the same day, and each worked 700 hours prior to being laid-off. Neville received EI after the lay-off and Valeria did not. Despite reaching the maximum number of hours required to receive EI for other workers (700), Valeria did not receive EI because she is a new labour market entrant and was shy of the 910 hours of work needed to qualify.