News October 18, 2022

What you need to know about the Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefit extension

The Government of Canada has been working to modernize the Employment Insurance (EI) program. As part of this effort, the 2022 federal budget confirmed the extension of Employment Insurance sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks. This change is anticipated to take place later this year. While an official date and details are still to be announced, here’s a look at what plan sponsors can expect:

  • Plan sponsors who offer Short-Term Disability (STD) benefits, integrated with EI on the plan, will need to consider realigning their benefits with the new 26-week extension.
  • Plan sponsors who do not offer STD benefits will need to realign plans to the 26-week elimination period if members claim EI prior to Long-Term Disability (LTD). This will help avoid the payment of disability and EI benefits at the same time, where a member may be required to refund EI for benefits overpaid.

Premium Reduction Program (PRP)

The PRP gives employers the advantage of paying lower EI premium rates when they provide their employees with short-term disability plans that meet certain requirements. There are no immediate impacts to employers who currently qualify for the PRP and the eligibility remains the same. No changes are expected to this program until 2024 or later.

We remain committed to offering holistic disability management benefits that focus on member health and wellness. With early intervention and proactive communication, we help employers manage a productive workforce while mitigating business and financial risks associated with disability.

  • Our disability case managers work together with members to provide recovery support and access to care that significantly reduces wait times through leading provider partnerships.
  • Our dedication to the quality of case coordination and communication is driven by technological innovation that keeps our plan sponsors informed and updated through the claims process for a successful return-to-work accommodation.
  • Our benefits plan gives claimants broad access to mental health and chronic disease management professionals and resources.

We will continue to offer meaningful solutions and keep you updated as more information becomes available. For questions about potential changes to your plan design and disability benefit offering, please reach out to your Account Executive.