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.

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

When can I 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.

Avoid Long Wait Times on the Phone with Service Canada

If your claim is rejected due to missing information, a delayed ROE submission from your employer, or any other reason that requires you to speak to a Service Canada agent, you can now fill out an Online Service Form to schedule a callback. An agent will call you back within 2 business days.

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 income 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 off) and other incomes.

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

Where to Apply

You can apply at a Service Canada Centre near you.

Apply Online

You can apply for EI online.

Where can I 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

  • Employment Insurance (EI) - Official information about EI. From Service Canada.
  • EI Regular Benefits - Describes what regular benefits are, who is eligible and how to apply. From Service Canada.
  • EI Special Benefits - Describes maternity and parental benefits, who is eligible and how to apply. From Service Canada.
  • Employment Insurance - This booklet has clear language information about Employment Insurance. From CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario).
Last updated: November 9, 2023 4001139