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Applying for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) on-line services

Do you have a question about the EI program? The frequently asked questions might help!


Who can apply for EI benefits?
What you should know if you work for a relative
Maybe your old EI claim just needs to be reactivated
How, where and when to apply
What information/documents are needed to apply?
Receiving social assistance while waiting for your EI benefits
Who can take care of an EI claim on your behalf?  
EI benefits on behalf of a deceased person
A 2-week waiting period to serve
In order to receive your EI payment...
You wish to obtain information about your EI Insurance claim
Your Access code
Work Sharing
Your rights and responsibilities
Our responsibilities to you...


Who can apply for EI benefits?

You can apply for EI benefits if you have paid into the EI account and you are unemployed.

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What you should know if you work for a relative

Even if your employer is related to you, you may still qualify for EI coverage. To know more...

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Maybe your old EI claim just needs to be reactivated

If you filed a claim for benefits within the last 52 weeks, you may be able to reactivate this claim. To reactivate your claim, please submit an application on-line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere you have Internet access, or during business hours at your Service Canada Centre. To know more...

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How, where and when to apply

To find out if you can receive EI benefits, you must submit an application for EI on-line or in person at your Service Canada Centre, even if you receive or will receive money when you become unemployed.

You must request your Record of Employment (ROE) from your last employer. If you have your ROE from your last employer, apply immediately. If you did not receive your last ROE within 14 daysof your last day of work, submit your application as soon as the 14 days are over, along with proof of employment — for example, pay stubs. If one or more ROE covering periods prior to your last employment are missing, you must still submit your claim for benefits.

If getting your ROE is a problem, your Service Canada Centre can help you. You will have to fill out a form "Request for Record of Employment" explaining what efforts you have made to obtain it. You will have to provide proof of your employment, such as: pay stubs, cancelled pay cheques, T4 slip, work schedules. If possible, we will use the proof to calculate your claim.

If you are applying for maternity, parental, compassionate care or sickness benefits, you should apply as soon as you stop working.

Delaying in filing your claim for benefits beyond 4 weeks after your last day of work may cause loss of benefits.

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What information/documents are needed to apply?

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Receiving social assistance while waiting for your EI benefits

If you receive financial assistance or advances from a Social Services, you may have to reimburse that money out of your EI benefits. To know more...

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Who can take care of an EI claim on your behalf?

If you are unable to manage your own affairs due to health problems, a person other than an Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) employee may be appointed to act on your behalf. In that case, the form Appointment of Representative must be completed and returned with your EI application.

If you are eligible for EI, HRSDC will authorize the payment of benefits to the representative acting on your behalf.

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EI benefits on behalf of a deceased person

When a person dies, benefits payable to that person up to and including the day of the death may be paid to the legal representative, or to a person authorized by the Act to inherit property of the deceased person. To know more...

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A 2-week waiting period to serve

You must serve a 2-week unpaid waiting period before your EI benefits begin to be paid. Generally, this period is the first 2 weeks of your claim. This is like a deductible for any kind of insurance. On the other hand, if you reopen a claim for benefits in which you have already served a 2-week waiting period, you do not serve another 2-week waiting period.

Earnings, for example,vacation pay, severance pay, made or allocated during the 2-week waiting period will be deducted in the first 3 weeks for which benefit is otherwise payable following the waiting period. See examples...

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In order to receive your EI payments...

Shortly after applying for EI, you will receive a Benefit statement in the mail indicating yourAccess code and the date your first report is due. Keep in mind that this does not mean that a decision has been made yet on your claim.

Along with your Benefit statement you will also receive instructions on how to complete your report with our Internet reporting service or our Telephone reporting service. If you cannot complete your reports by Internet or by telephone, you will need to complete and mail them to us. To find out how to complete your report by mail, just follow these step-by-step instructions.

If you have provided all the required information and if you can be paid EI benefits, your payment will be issued usually within 28 days from the date of filing your claim. If you cannot be paid, we will notify you of the decision made on your claim.

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You wish to get information about your EI insurance claim

If you have a current or previous claim for EI benefits, you can with our Internet service My Employment Insurance (EI) Information on-line:

Please note, if your bank account information changes or if you move, it is important that you let us know as soon as possible. You can update your mailing address, telephone number and direct deposit information by using My Employment Insurance (EI) Information on-line.

You can also obtain information about your EI claim by calling our telephone information service 1 800 206-7218 and choosing Option 1.

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Your Access Code

Your Access code is the 4 digit number printed in the red shaded area at the bottom of your Benefit Statement. Your Access code is your electronic signature and is needed, along with your SIN, when you make telephone enquiries about your claim and when you file your reports using the Internet reporting service or the Telephone reporting service.

The Access code identifies you and ensures that your privacy is protected. Don't let others have it because they could get information or take action on your claim without you knowing it. You would be held responsible for this. Keep your Access code in a safe place and for extra security keep it stored separately from your SIN.

If you lose your Access code, call our telephone information service at 1 800 206-7218 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and press "0" to speak to a representative. You can also go to your Service Canada Centre. In both cases, questions will be asked to verify your identity and a new Access code number will be reissued.

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Work Sharing

Did you know that work sharing assists employers and employees facing lay-offs due to a decline in production? With the work sharing agreement, available work is redistributed through a voluntary reduction in hours worked by all employees within one or more work units. This enables the employer to retain a full work force on a reduced work week, rather than laying off part of his or her work force. Employees are able to remain on the job and maintain skills and working habits and avoid uncertainties and hardship associated with total unemployment. To find out about the EI Work Sharing program...

Our responsibilities to you...