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Are Canadian Foreign Workers Entitled to Employment Insurance and CERB Benefits?

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Temporary Foreign Worker - LMIA and Coronavirus - COVID

Are Canadian Foreign Workers Entitled to Employment Insurance and CERB Benefits?
Hermie Abraham

Are you an immigrant living or working in Canada who has been hurt by the economic fallout? At Ackah Law, we are committed to helping Canadian immigrants and employers of foreign workers #PivotAndThrive during this unprecedented period. My colleague Hermie Abraham, Owner and Principal Employment Lawyer of Advocation Professional Corporation, offers some information about the rights of Canadian foreign workers, and their eligibility criteria for benefits that Canadians and permanent residents receive.

Individuals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents (like TFWs - Temporary Foreign Workers) can receive the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). They simply have to meet the CERB eligibility requirements, which are:

  • Residing in Canada and at least 15 years old;
  • have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular or fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  • Had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application. This income does not have to be earned in Canada; and,
  • Who have not quit their job voluntarily.

If a temporary foreign worker has lost employment for reasons unrelated to COVID he/she is eligible to receive Employment Insurance (EI) benefits provided that they meet EI eligibility criteria:

  • employed in insurable employment;
  • lost a job through no fault of his/her own;
  • without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks;
  • has worked for the required number of insurable employment hours (between 420 and 700 hours of insurable employment) in the last 52 weeks or since the start of the last EI claim, whichever is shorter;
  • is ready, willing and capable of working each day;
  • is actively looking for work.

Learn More:

How Can Ackah Law Help Your Business Thrive?

If you have questions about your immigration application during the coronavirus restrictions or for post-lockdown business, contact Ackah Law today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email [email protected].


Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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We have been using the services of Ackah Business Immigration Law for over 5 years. Evelyn and her team have provided vital and critical help to us in navigating the complicated and ever changing rules on how to bring qualified and talented dancers to Canada as foreign workers to become part of our company. Diversity enriches what we do and these dancers are essential to our artistic success and community outreach. Evelyn’s team lead the application process, take care of all the administration and provides constant support throughout the process. As a small registered charity having this expertise available is instrumental to our success we applaud Ackah Business Immigration for generously supplying their professional services to us pro bono. Their involvement helps us to continue to enrich lives by engaging people in exploring, evolving and promoting the art of jazz dance.

– Kathi Sundstrom, Executive Director for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks

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