Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island, Canada

Financial Assistance

There are a number of federal and provincial government programs to assist PEI residents when they are unable to work or provide for themselves. This may be due to job loss, illness or injury, raising a newborn or adopting a child, caring for a seriously ill relative, disability, or other life situations.

Types of Financial Assistance

If you are unable to work or provide for yourself or your family, you can apply to the following programs which may provide financial assistance:

To be eligible for any of the Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, you are required to have worked a certain number of hours and have paid into the EI fund (you might not have been paying into the fund if you are a freelance consultant, contract worker, self-employed etc.).

Employment Insurance Regular Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) Regular Benefits are available to people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and who are available for and able to work, but can not find a job. The EI Regular Benefits program provides temporary financial assistance for the unemployed who qualify for the benefits, while they look for work or upgrade their skills.

Usually, you are not eligible for EI Regular Benefits if you:

  • quit without a good reason,
  • are fired because of your own misconduct, meaning the employer had just cause to fire you,
  • have not worked enough hours during a certain period of time, or
  • have not been paying into the EI program.

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Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits are for individuals who are unable to work because of sickness, injury, or quarantine. If you qualify for this benefit, you may be paid for up to 15 weeks.

Besides meeting the usual eligibility requirements, you must also provide a medical certificate from a doctor to prove that you are unable to work and confirm the duration of your incapacity.

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Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) Maternity and Parental Benefits provide support to people who are pregnant, have recently given birth, are caring for a newborn, or are adopting a child.

EI Maternity Benefits are payable to the birth mother or surrogate mother for a maximum of 15 weeks.

EI Parental Benefits are payable either to the biological or adoptive parents while they care for a new-born or an adopted child, up to a maximum of 35 weeks. Parental Benefits can be claimed by one parent or shared between the two partners, but will not exceed a combined maximum of 35 weeks.

To receive these benefits, besides meeting the usual eligibility requirements, you also have to sign a statement declaring the details of your baby's expected due date or date of birth, or in the case of an adoption, the date of your adopted child's placement with you and the name and address of the adoption authority.

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Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) Compassionate Care Benefits are available to people who temporarily have to be away from work to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death.

EI Compassionate Care Benefits may be paid up to a maximum of 6 weeks to a person who has to be absent from work to provide care or support to a gravely ill family member at risk of dying within 26 weeks.

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Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) Benefits

Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) Benefits provides financial assistance to people who are unable to work because of a severe and prolonged disability. In order to qualify for CPPD, you have to have been working in Canada, paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and are now unable to work on a regular basis due to a disability.

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Disability Support Program (DSP)

The PEI government has the Disability Support Program (DSP) to assist people with disabilities with personal planning and to help meet the needs related to their disability. DSP supports are provided in three main areas: child disability supports, adult disability supports, and employment and vocational supports. DSP does not provide an income for living expenses.

For more information contact the Disability Support Program (DSP) office nearest you.

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Social Assistance Program

The PEI government offers the Social Assistance Program to individuals and families who are unable to provide for themselves. This program provides basic income support and other services to enhance client self-reliance.

To apply for the Social Assistance Program, contact the office located closest to you.
[See Related Resources]

In order to be eligible for the Social Assistance Program, your income has to be lower than your allowed expenses and you have to be a resident of PEI (you have a place to live and plan to stay in PEI)

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Drug Cost Assistance Programs

There are many PEI government programs which help people with the cost of prescription medicines. [See Related Resources]

Benefits received through some of these programs are based on the recipient's level of income.

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Social Housing Programs

The PEI government has two social housing programs for seniors and families with low incomes: [See Related Resources]

  • Seniors Housing Program
  • Family Housing Program

We have made every effort to ensure that the information in this Guide is accurate and up-to-date. If you find of any errors or omissions, please contact us.