If clients have lost their jobs, they only have to wait one week for access to employment insurance (EI).

As of January 1, 2017, the EI waiting period has been cut from two weeks to one for all benefits: regular, fishing, sickness, maternity, parental and compassionate care, as well as those paid to the parents of critically ill children and those who are self-employed.

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Practically speaking, this means that an eligible claimant who’s been laid off and subsequently finds work after 12 weeks will receive up to 11 weeks of EI benefits, as opposed to 10 weeks under the previous policy. It’s important to note that the shorter waiting period does not affect the speed of the first payment. The government’s current standard for providing payment is within 28 days, 80% of the time.

In a release, the government says the shortened waiting period, which is part of a series of changes to employment insurance, will give Canadians an extra $650 million each year.

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Other employment-related provisions take effect in 2017, including a $400 increase (to $55,300 in 2017 from $54,900 last year) to the year’s maximum pensionable earnings under the CPP. As a result, the maximum employer and employee contribution to the CPP will increase slightly to $2,564.10 each for 2017.

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