How To Make Money While Unemployed

How To Make Money While Unemployed

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 11, 2021

Right now, there are about 1.5 million Canadians unemployed, with the current unemployment rate sitting at 9.4%. Being unemployed not only hinders your ability to comfortably cover your financial obligations, but it can also hurt your confidence and be a burden to your mental health. 

Yet while being unemployed is not a good thing, there are some things you can do to improve your situation, both for your financial and emotional well-being. Here are some things you can do to turn your situation around. 

Start Hustling 

These days, it’s pretty easy to find a side gig to bring in a little extra cash, thanks predominantly to the internet. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.


Companies pay big bucks to collect information from the general public to help them better tailor their products or services, and one way they do this is to conduct surveys. While some surveys don’t pay out, many do. 

There are dozens of sites and apps that pay people to complete surveys, including Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Daily Rewards, and Ipsos i-Say, to name a few. You can either get paid out in cash or redeem points for gift cards or even prepaid credit cards.  


If you have some sort of talent that you can turn into a service that people are looking for and willing to pay you for, you can earn a decent side income. Fiverr is a great platform to advertise your services, whether it’s blog writing, social media management, photography graphic design, or anything else that you are good at that could serve others. 

Some people actually earn a full-time income solely from their services on Fiverr, though you may need to develop some experience and a good reputation on the platform before you can see the big bucks rolling in.


If you’ve got a car, you may consider working for a ride-share service to earn some extra income. Your car will need to be insured and you’ll need to have a driver’s license and clean driving record to get started. Other than that, you can begin earning money picking people up and taking them to where they need to go. 

This is a great gig that allows for a flexible schedule. You can work any time you want, as many hours a week as you want. Just keep your vehicle expenses in mind when calculating your net income.


If you’re OK with doing someone else’s grocery shopping for them and delivering to their home, then you may want to consider a gig with Instacart. This app is a grocery shopping service that has seen incredible growth over the past year thanks to the ongoing health crisis as more and more people have chosen to stay home as much as possible. 


One of the bigger money-making opportunities out there right now is through Airbnb. If you’ve got a house or condo that you can rent out, then you may want to advertise your rental on this online marketplace for rentals. 

You can rent out your place for a long- or short-term rental depending on your situation. Further, you can either rent out your entire home or even just one floor or even one room. Real estate investing has long been an effective way to generate wealth, and Airbnb can be the foot in the door you need to get started. 


This app matches freelance general workers with local demand. If someone is looking for some help with a project or job, they can find help on TaskRabbit. You can find work and get paid for anything including cleaning, moving boxes, putting furniture together, making deliveries, making repairs, and any other task that a person may need help with — would be willing to pay for. 


Do you love dogs? If so, you may want to use your spare time to dog sit for people who may need someone to look after their furry friends while they’re at work, on vacation, or who simply need a few hours dog-free for whatever reason. You can advertise daycare or boarding services on the DogVacay app and set your own prices. 


Similar to Airbnb, Turo allows you to share your car with others when you aren’t using it. You can earn an average of $620 a month with this car-sharing marketplace. 

Government Income Programs For Unemployed

The Canadian government has programs in place to help those who are unemployed. The most common program is Employment Insurance (EI) which provides benefits to eligible Canadians who have lost their job due to layoffs, shortage of work, and other reasons through no fault of their own. 

If you’ve recently lost your job, apply for EI right after you stop working to start collecting benefits, even if you haven’t received your Record of Employment (ROE) yet. 

In order to qualify for EI, you’ll need to have accumulated anywhere from 420 and 700 hours of insurable employment within the qualifying period. The exact number of hours needed will be based on where you live and the unemployment rate in your region. 

For the majority of Canadians, the basic rate for EI benefits is 55% of average insurable earnings per week, up to a maximum amount. Right now, the maximum annual insurable earnings amount is $56,300, or $595 per week.

In addition to federal government programs, the province you live in may also offer programs to help you enter the labour market. For instance, the province of Quebec offers its Aim for Employment program, which provides financial assistance to those who are unemployed, as well as personalized support to help re-enter the labour force. 

The payout amount depends on the activity: 

  • $165 per month (or $38 a week) for active job search activities.
  • $260 per month (or $60 a week) for skills development activities. Single-parent families may receive $390 per month (or $90 a week).
  • $165 per month (or $38 a week) for activities involving the development of social skills.

How To Get A Job

Making a little extra money is great to help make ends meet, but it should only be a temporary fix. Ideally, you’ll want to start earning a regular and predictable income again so you can rest easy knowing you’re getting a consistent paycheque to help you comfortably cover all your bills

While you’re making extra cash with a side gig, you’ll also want to find a job. Here are a few tips to help guide you in the right direction.

Update Your Resume And Cover Letter

Usually, employers want to see some sort of documentation outlining your previous work and educational experience. You’ll want to have an up-to-date resume ready to hand out to potential employers. 

It’s helpful to take some time to draft up resumes and cover letters that are specifically directed at the employers you’re targeting. Your resume should describe your qualifications for the jobs you’re applying for so that the hiring manager can quickly gauge how qualified you are for the job. Forget generic resumes; instead, hand in something that is tailored to the job at hand.

Hunt For The Job

Looking for and finding the right job requires a few steps to follow: 

Research companies you’d like to work for. Look into various companies that you are interested in working for and have jobs that you are interested in and qualified for. Check their corporate job listings to see what they have available. 

Join a recruiting agency. A temp agency may be a great way to help connect you to companies that are currently hiring people with your skill set. These agencies essentially act as a middleman between employers and workers. 

Subscribe to job boards. A job board is a website that employers use to advertise job vacancies to those looking for work. Job seekers can use these boards to look for job opportunities in their area of expertise and location. These platforms also offer special resume-building features and guidelines and allow you to set up alerts when something that matches your profile comes up. 

Job Bank is a popular job board in Canada and is the largest online listing of bilingual job postings in the country. Every job posted is displayed in both English and French. Other popular online job board sites include Careerjet, Indeed, Glassdoor, and Linkedin, to name a few. 

Prepare For The Interview

When you receive a call back from a potential employer, an interview will likely be the next step in the process. This gives the hiring manager the chance to scope you out and see what you’d be like to work with, while also providing you with the chance to get a feel for the employer.

Take a little time to prepare for the interview to make sure you’re ready to make a good impression. Not only will getting prepared help you overcome any stresses that may come with such an important interview, but it will also increase the odds of a successful outcome. 

Jot down some questions that you believe may be asked, practice answering them, and hone in on your conversational skills with confidence. And don’t forget to have an appropriate outfit prepared for the interview.  

Final Thoughts

Being unemployed doesn’t have to be a permanent status for you. There are ways to make a few extra bucks with a side gig to get your hands on some cash quickly to help fill any financial gaps in your life. And while you’re hustling, you’ll also want to start looking for full-time work to get you back on the right track and turn your financial life around. 

Rating of 5/5 based on 2 votes.

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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