How do I apply for Employment Insurance (EI)?

To apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits you must apply online as soon as you lose your job. You don't need to wait to have your Record of Employment letter (ROE) to start your claim.

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak we advise you to avoid visiting a Service Canada office and file your application online instead. 

You will need your Social Insurance Number and some other documents to start your application.

FOR APPLICANTS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE COVID PANDEMIC: If you lost your job around March when the COVID pandemic first hit and had applied for EI but were receiving the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB ) from Service Canada instead, you do not need re-apply for EI. Just continue to file your reports online and Service Canada will automatically transition your claim to EI payments. If you no longer qualify for EI you will be contacted by Service Canada by email.

When to Apply for EI

It is a good idea to apply as soon as you stop working. Apply within 4 weeks of your final day at work or you might not be eligible if you wait longer. Employers have the opportunity to file your ROE online directly with Service Canada but make sure you ask your employer for that since you will need to provide that to your EI file. The payments on your claim will be delayed if your employer does not file the ROE.  

The Application Form and Documents

To apply for regular benefits, you must submit:

  • An (ROE) - From each job you have had in the past year (52 weeks). If your employer submits your ROE electronically, you do not need a paper copy.
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) - If you have a SIN that starts with "9" you also need to show your work permit and proof of your immigration status.
  • Personal identification - Such as your driver's licence, birth certificate or passport.
  • Your complete bank account information - You can find this on your bank statement. Or you can bring a personal cheque - write "void" on the cheque. The government uses this information to deposit your payment directly into your bank account.
  • Your detailed version of the facts - If you have quit or have been dismissed from any job in the last year (52 weeks).
  • Information about your most recent job - Such as: your salary (total earnings before deductions including tips and commissions), your gross earnings for your last week of work (from Sunday to the last day worked), gross amounts received or to be received (vacation pay, severance pay, pension, pay in lieu of notice or lay of) and other incomes.

If you are missing some of these documents, you can still apply. This will help prevent delays.

If you don't qualify for EI you might still be eligible for the following benefits:

Where to Apply

You can apply at a Service Canada Centre near you.

Apply Online

You can apply for EI online.

Get Help

Many settlement agencies can help you with your EI application. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me and search for "Settlement Services" in your area.

For more information about EI, you can call Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 or go to their website.

For More Information

Last updated: October 2, 2020 4001139