Did you know Canada has an Employment Insurance program (EI) that allows working Canadians to collect benefits should they lose their jobs?
Oh yes! Give your emergency fund a break and learn about this social security program you may rightfully qualify for, especially if your payslip carried an EI deduction.
Canada first created the EI program in 1940, and it has since evolved to protect workers and provide them access to cash so they can stay afloat when they lose their jobs, fall ill, or welcome their babies.
Whether you’re experiencing a job loss or extended illness, the money you receive through EI is invaluable, and you need to know how to apply for EI effortlessly.
Without skipping a beat, let’s look in-depth into how the EI program works, the eligibility criteria, and the different ways you can apply for EI benefits in 2022.
How To Apply for EI Online (Regular EI benefits)
1. Gather Information and Necessary Documents
Before we go in-depth into how to apply for EI, we need to gather all the necessary documents first. To apply for EI, you will need the following:
- your social insurance number
- the last name of one of your parents
- your address and postal code
- your banking information if you elect to receive your benefits through direct deposit
- the Record of Employment (ROE) that was sent by your employer to Service Canada. This is the most critical piece determining your eligibility, and you can get it from your Service Canada account.
- your employer’s name and address, dates of employment, and the reason for leaving your job as stated on your Record of Employment.
- description of the events which led to your resignation or termination
- the salary you earned before tax, including tips and commissions
- details of extra allowances
- your access code. You will need to get your Access code via mail, not online. If you lose your access code, you will need to contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 or visit one of its offices.
2. Determine The Type of Benefit: Regular, Sickness, or Parental?
Once you have all the necessary documents ready, you can be on your way to apply for EI online by following the following steps:
Step 1: Review the eligibility criteria
Step 2: Visit the EI application login page, review the privacy notice, scroll all the way down to the part that says “start Application”, and click on the button.
Step 3: You will be asked if you have started an application before now, select ‘No’ for a new application.
Step 4: You will be asked to select the type of EI Benefits. Choose “Benefits for Employees.” if you are not self-employed.
Step 5: You will be required to enter a Reference Code. If you do not have a reference code, select “No” and continue.
Step 6: You are prompted to select the Benefit Type. Choose the benefit that applies to you. (Select ‘Regular’ if you were laid off from your job or ‘Sickness’ if you are ill, injured, quarantined, etc.).
Please note that for the purposes of simplification, we are applying for the Regular benefits, and the other steps will be based on this selection.
Step 7: After that, an overview of what you should provide during your application will pop up depending on the type of benefit you choose. It would be great if you had the information ready before you started. Next, click on the “Continue” button which will take you to the Identity Information page.
3. Provide Your Personal Information
Step 8: Provide all your personal information: Here, you will be required to enter your SIN, Date of Birth, Last Name, First Name, Mother’s Maiden Name, and Gender.
Step 9: Identity Validation Page: Here you confirm your identity, and you will be given a temporary password. (Keep this somewhere safe).
Step 10: Enter some more personal information like your email address, mobile number, etc.; confirm any applicable Programs and Services and confirm your Income Tax Information.
Step 11: Fill in your direct deposit information
Step 12: Click on “Other Personal Information.”, fill in your highest level of education, and choose your membership affiliation.
4. Provide Information on Your Last Employment
Step 13: Enter your Last Employer’s Information. Use your Record of Employment (ROE) to answer all the questions in this part.
Step 14: Reason for Separation (This is also on the ROE)
Step 15: Enter your rate of pay. You can enter your yearly salary if you are a salaried employee.
Step 16: Enter your Job Title. Select the one most applicable to your position.
Step 17: ROE Information – Last Employer section. You should have your employer upload your ROE directly to Service Canada.
Step 18: “Other Employers” section. Choose the one that applies to you. For each subsequent question, pick only options that best apply to you.
Lastly, go through the Rights and Responsibilities. Click to accept, and you have completed your EI application! Yipee! Now you know how to apply for EI.
How The EI Program Works
Employment Insurance (EI) is Canada’s most significant income replacement program. It aims to help Canadians who lost their jobs because of no fault of theirs; providing them with financial support when they’ve been out of work for up to 7 days in the last 52 weeks.
Further, the EI program also provides support to Canadians who suffer a hard time due to illness or injury. You may also qualify to benefit from the EI program if you are a new parent who just welcomed a child whether by birth or by adoption.
To access the benefits provided by the Employment Insurance Program, you will need to complete an online application through Service Canada, and tell them about your employment history, training, education, and other factors that may help you qualify for EI benefits.
To qualify for the regular EI benefits, it is very important that you did not lose your job because of your actions (or inactions). For example, if you are laid off due to a shortage of work or mass lay-offs, then that is deemed to NOT be your own fault.
However, if your termination letter states that you are laid off from work due to misconduct e.g stealing, then it may be difficult for you to qualify for EI benefits.
If you cannot work because of illnesses or injuries, and you want income replacement, then you should apply for the EI sickness benefits.
However, if you took time off work because you are pregnant, recently had a baby, or adding a new member to your family through adoption, then you can apply for the EI maternity and parental benefits.
It is very important that you apply for the EI benefits immediately after you lose your job because waiting for over four weeks can result in your application being denied.
Also, there is a 1-week waiting period before you can get your first benefit, so do not wait for your record of employment to apply.
Subsequently, after your application has been approved, it is expected that you submit biweekly reports to Service Canada, informing them your employment condition hasn’t changed, and you are still eligible to receive future benefits.
If you worked during the two weeks you are filing for; you must state the precise hours you worked and the total amount you got or would get before deductions.
How Much EI Benefits Will You Get?
The amount of EI benefits you can get depends on the type of EI benefit you apply for, how much you’ve been earning, and where you live in Canada.
According to Service Canada, the basic rate for calculating Employment Insurance (EI) benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount of $638 per week.
You can receive EI from 14 weeks up to 45 weeks. But this depends mainly on the unemployment rate in your region and the number of insurable hours you have.
Employment Insurance Eligibility
The ESDC determines EI Eligibility, and you need to demonstrate your eligibility before you can benefit from the EI program.
You should be able to show that you:
- had an insurable employment position
- lost your job not because of your fault
- have been out of work and have earned no income for at least seven days in a row within the last year
- You are ready and willing to work and capable of working
- have a record that shows you are actively seeking employment
- worked the minimum number of insurable hours in the last 52 weeks, or you have done so since you last applied for EI
- completing your biweekly EI report online or by telephone
You may also apply for EI if you
- are away from work to care for someone experiencing critical illness or injury
- took a leave of absence because you had a new baby or a newly adopted child
- cannot work because of pregnancy
- lost your job because of unavoidable circumstances such as a flood, fire, or pandemic
Grounds for EI Disqualification
Although EI provides a measure of relief to employees who lose their jobs, dozens of situations may make claimants ineligible to get the EI benefits even if they have lost their job.
Here are some common grounds for disqualification:
- voluntarily leaving (part-time and full-time) employment without just cause
- losing employment because of misconduct, e.g., stealing
- If you lost your job because you partook in a labor dispute like a strike
- not applying for jobs or refusing to work after an employment offer has been extended to you
Conclusion on How To Apply for EI
Applying for EI Online is not that difficult, especially if you have all the correct information beforehand.
I hope this article has consolidated all information on this subject matter and provided you with all the essential information on how to apply for EI regular benefits. Now you can complete your applications on time and avoid payment delays.
Use this step-by-step guide, and have confidence as you navigate your way through applying for EI benefits.
If you are still confused about using the EI application portal, you can contact Service Canada for help.
By understanding the ins and outs of the EI online application, you can have a stress-free and convenient experience and expect your payment at no later date.
FAQs on How To Apply For EI
How Long Does EI Take to be Approved?
Who is Eligible for EI?