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Applying for Employment Insurance - Apply for EI benefits

Apply for EI benefits 

Step 1. Gather your information

Before applying for employment insurance benefits, collect all the documents and information you’ll need. These include:

  • your social insurance number
  • your personal identification (for example, your driver’s licence or passport) 
  • your bank information for direct deposit
  • details of your most recent employment (including your salary and other benefits)
  • your detailed version of the circumstances of your leaving your job 
  • your record of employment (ROE)

Your ROE is a document that proves you were employed. Your employer can issue your ROE electronically or in paper form. Ask your employer which method they will use. If it’s electronic, you don’t need a copy; your employer will send it directly to Service Canada. If it’s a paper ROE, ask for a copy as soon as your job ends. You will need an ROE from each employer you worked for in the previous 52 weeks. 

If for some reason your employer doesn’t issue your ROE, go to your local Service Canada office for help. There you can fill out a form explaining how you tried to get the ROE. You’ll also have to provide proof of your employment (for example, a pay stub or T4 slip).

Step 2. Apply for benefits

The federal government has introduced the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) to help those whose work has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. It provides $2,000 every four weeks for up to 16 weeks. The government is advising everyone applying for federal benefits, whether CERB or employment insurance, to start the application on the CERB portal. The portal guides you through a set of questions, and routes you to where you submit your benefits application.

You should apply for EI benefits as soon as you stop working. You can apply for benefits even if you receive money when you leave your job, and even if you have not yet received your record of employment. If you delay applying for more than four weeks after your last day of work, you may lose benefits.

Step 3. After you apply

Workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic who have applied for EI sickness benefits are eligible to have the one-week waiting period for benefits waived. Once you’ve filed your application, call the coronavirus EI hotline at 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free). 

If your application for EI benefits is approved, there may be a one-week waiting period for which you will not be paid.

If your application is denied, Service Canada will contact you by letter or phone to explain why. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to ask for a reconsideration. 

While you are receiving EI benefits, you must submit a report every two weeks. You can submit your report online using the government's internet reporting service, by phone using their telephone reporting service at 1-800-531-7555, or by filling out and submitting a paper copy.

Step 4. If your application is denied, request a reconsideration

If your application for EI benefits is denied, your first step to challenge the decision is to request a reconsideration. There is no cost to do this. You must submit your request to Service Canada within 30 days from when the decision was sent to you. If you miss the deadline, you must provide a reason why.

To request a reconsideration, fill out the online request for reconsideration form. Once you’ve filled it out, print, sign and mail the form to your regional Service Canada office noted on the form.

Step 5. Appeal the reconsideration decision

If you disagree with the decision made on your request for reconsideration, you can appeal to the Social Security Tribunal. This is a body similar to a court. It hears appeals on pensions and benefits provided by the federal government.

You must submit your appeal within 30 days of receiving the reconsideration decision. The appeal must be in the prescribed form. Service Canada has more information about how to appeal.

The tribunal will consider your appeal. They may hold a hearing, which could happen by teleconference, in person, or in writing. The tribunal will make a decision on your appeal and send you the decision in writing.

If you disagree with the tribunal’s decision on your appeal, you can ask for “leave” (permission) to make a further appeal to the Appeal Division of the Social Security Tribunal.