This report provides a cost estimate for lowering the eligibility threshold for claiming sickness benefits from 600 hours of insurable employment to 360 hours.
Sickness benefits are part of the Employment Insurance (EI) program. To claim these benefits, a person must have worked at least 600 hours of insurable employment during the year before the claim is made.
If this threshold had been reduced to 360 hours in 2018, PBO estimates that just over 73,000 individuals would have benefitted over the course of the year. The total fiscal cost would have been roughly $325 million. PBO projects that the cost would drop to $258 million in 2019, then gradually increase to $333 million by 2026 (Summary Table 1).
The EI program is self-financing, so PBO estimates that this measure would result in an increase of roughly two cents ($0.02) per $100 of insurable earnings in EI premiums each year from 2020 to 2026.