Statutory Benefits

Statutory is defined as something “fixed, authorized, or established by statute”. Therefore the benefit packages that Canadian employers offer are designed to enhance the well-being of their employee base, and will contain both statutory and discretionary benefits. Statutory benefits are some of the benefits also referred to as “employer paid” benefits.

In this Section:

Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance provides temporary financial assistance for unemployed Canadians while they look for work or upgrade their skills. People who are sick, pregnant or caring for a newborn or adopted child, as well as those who must care for a family member who is seriously ill with a significant risk of death, may also be assisted by Employment Insurance.

Employment Insurance (EI) premiums are calculated on, and deducted from, an employee's maximum insurable earnings (MIE), which are insurable salary, wages, cash allowances and other remuneration paid to an employee. The Canada Revenue Agency is responsible for determining what is considered insurable employment and which earnings are insurable.

Most employees in Canada are considered to be in “insurable employment” and covered by EI. As of January 1, 1997, every hour of work is insurable up to the yearly maximum earnings limit, replacing the previously required weekly minimum earnings or hours worked.

All employees in insurable employment must have EI premiums deducted from their earnings. Premiums are set annually as a rate per $100 of Insurable Earnings up to the level of Maximum Insurable Earnings. Employers are also required to make payments at 1.4 times the employee rate, unless Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has granted the employer a reduced rate.

Procedures for premium deductions and remittances are outlined in “Canada Revenue Agency Instructions to Employers.”

Types of Employment Insurance benefits

There are several types of benefits available to Canadians, depending on their situation.

Regular benefits

These benefits are available to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal layoffs, or mass layoffs) and who are available for and able to work, but can’t find a job.

Maternity and parental benefits

These benefits provide support to individuals who are pregnant, have recently given birth, are adopting a child, or are caring for a newborn.

Sickness benefits

These benefits are for individuals unable to work because of sickness, injury or quarantine.

Compassionate care benefits

These benefits are available to people who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death.

Important:  When dealing with maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care leaves, there are two aspects to be considered:

  • The period of leave specified by employment/labour standards legislation. Although the standards vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, employment/labour standards laws entitle eligible employees to specified leaves for a specified period of time. They also require employers to ensure that when the leave is over, the employee can return to the same or a similar job with at least the same wages, benefits and seniority.
  • The payment the employee may be eligible to receive from Employment Insurance (EI) or the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP). Under the EI legislation, eligible individuals are entitled to government-paid benefits for maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care leaves. The QPIP provides benefits for maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leaves for employees residing in the province of Quebec, regardless of the province of employment.

Canada/Quebec Pension Plans

Organizations are required to submit CPP/QPP payments to the government for all eligible employees on their maximum insurable earnings, based on a rate table revised annually. A percentage is deducted from the employee’s pay and a portion is remitted by the employer.

Statutory Obligations

A statutory obligation is a term or condition employers are required to provide their employees as determined by the law of the province or territory where the employer operates.

Employment standards legislation sets out the minimum terms and conditions of employment for those who operate federally and for each province or territory. Both employers and employees must follow these minimum obligations unless they offer terms or conditions more generous that the ones mandated by legislation.

Therefore, employment standards legislation sets out minimum standards relating to employment terms and conditions. The legislation also includes exceptions for certain types of employees, such as managers and professionals.

Some key areas covered by legislation are:
  • Minimum wage
  • Hours of work
  • Vacations and holiday leave
  • Maternity and paternity leaves
  • Adoption and parental leaves
  • Emergency/sick leave/compassionate leave
  • Bereavement leave
  • Leave entitlement
  • Grievance procedures
  • Termination of employment


Human rights legislation goes beyond just the employment relationship but does address certain issues relating to potential workplace discrimination.

Occupational health and safety legislation creates health and safety obligations for both employers and employees to minimize the risk of workplace accidents.

Worker’s compensation legislation provides workers who become sick or injured at work with compensation for both economic and non-economic losses in certain circumstances for participating organizations.

Canadian labour relations legislation governs the conduct of unionized employees and employers.