Applying for EI
Updated: Jul 26
EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE (EI) AND SPECIAL BENEFITS
What is Employment Insurance?
EI is your right. This insurance plan provides you with benefits when you lose your job or are on leave from work when you are sick, have a child or are providing care for a family member.
Both you and your boss contribute to this plan. It is your boss’s responsibility to deduct EI contributions from your pay. This should be recorded on your pay slips. EI is paid out by the federal government through Service Canada.
Do I Qualify for Employment Insurance?
To collect EI, you usually need to have worked between 420 and 700 hours in the previous year. There is a 1 week unpaid waiting period for benefits. Check with us or Service Canada for the most recent qualifying hours you need in your region.
UPDATE: Changes made to EI program during Covid-19
Temporary changes have been made to the Employment Insurance (EI) program to help you access EI regular benefits. The following changes are in effect until September 2021, and could apply to you:
the waiting period may be waived
a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada
if your region’s unemployment rate is higher than 13.1%, we’ll use the higher actual rate to calculate your benefits
you only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you’ll get a one-time credit of 300 insured hours to help you meet the required 420 insured hours of work
you’ll receive at least $500 per week before taxes, but you could receive more
you’ll be eligible for up to 50 weeks of regular benefits
if you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended
How Do I Apply?
You can apply online or in person. If you have never received Employment Insurance, after you apply, you will first be issued a Personal Access Code (PAC); typically this will be sent out by mail in order to confirm your address/identity. It may take up to a couple weeks for your PAC to arrive in the mail.
Make sure to apply within 4 weeks of your last day of work. You may lose some of your benefits if you apply late. You can still apply even if you have not received your Record of Employment (ROE) from your employer. You can use all of your ROEs from every job you had during the past 52 weeks.
Working For Cash With No Deductions?
Calculate the number of hours you worked in the last year. Write down the dates you worked. Apply as soon as you stop working. You may still qualify for EI.
HOW DO I APPLY:
Go to the nearest Service Canada office to apply for EI or apply online. Make sure to apply within 4 weeks of your last day of work. You may lose some of your benefits if you apply late. You can still apply even if you have not received your Record of Employment (ROE) from your employer. You can use all of your ROEs from every job you had during the past 52 weeks.
Here’s how to do it:
If your boss doesn’t deduct Employment Insurance from your pay, you may still be entitled to your benefits. If you have written down the dates and hours that you worked, you can still apply for EI. You will not have to pay any EI deductions, only your boss pays.
If you don’t have a SIN or valid work permit you may not be entitled EI benefits.
If you were fired or quit, it may be more difficult to collect EI. But EI will consider the reason that you are no longer working. Write an explanation of what happened in your application or in a separate letter submitted later.
Here is the direct link to the EI Application Page https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/apply.html
If you need assistance figuring out your EI application, don't hesitate to drop us a line!