Area of Law: Employment Law
Answer # 610
How to apply for EI benefitsRegion: Ontario Answer # 610
Most employees whose employment ends or who need time off to care for a new child or an illness, are entitled to at least one type of Employment Insurance (EI) benefit. There are seven different types of benefits available to employees:
- Regular benefits,
- Maternity benefits and parental benefits,
- Sickness benefits,
- Compassionate care benefits,
- Fishing benefits,
- The Family Caregiver Benefit for Children, and
- The Family Caregiver Benefit for Adults.
Submit an application online
To apply for all types of EI benefits, you must submit an application online on the Government of Canada website. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can apply online at any Service Canada Centre using one of the computers they have available. To maximize the amount of benefits you receive, you should submit your application as soon as you leave your job.
To fill out the application form, you will need to provide certain personal information. This includes:
- your Social Insurance Number
- your mother’s maiden name
- your mailing and residential addresses, including postal codes
- your banking information, if you wish to have your EI payment directly deposited into your bank account
If you are eligible for benefits your payment will usually be issued within 28 days from the date that you filed your claim. If you are not eligible for benefits, you will be notified in writing of this decision. If you have questions about your application, contact Service Canada.
Record of Employment (ROE)
To apply for EI you must also have your Record of Employment (ROE). A Record of Employment is a form that your employer is required to give you when you leave your job. It says how long you worked and how much you were paid.
You can apply for benefits even if you have not yet received your Record of Employment. The employers you have worked for may submit your Record of Employment electronically to Service Canada, in which case you do not need to request a copy, since you are not required to provide paper copies. However, you may still wish to have a copy for yourself.
If your employer issues a Record of Employment in paper format, you must request a copy of all the Record of Employment forms that they issued on your behalf during the last 52 weeks. After you submit your EI application online, you will need to provide the original copy of all paper Record of Employment forms as soon as possible.
Shortly after you file your EI application, you will be mailed an EI benefit statement. This statement will tell you the date you have to submit your first EI report, will provide you with your access code for your online account, and will include detailed instructions on how to submit your EI reports.
Once you apply for EI benefits, you are required to complete and submit EI reports to Service Canada, either online or by telephone, in order to get the benefits you are entitled to receive. During the period your EI claim is active, you have to submit reports every two weeks that show you are still entitled to receive EI benefits. On your EI reports, you must indicate whether you:
- were outside Canada during the period of the report,
- worked or received earnings, including self-employment earnings,
- started a full-time job,
- attended school or a training course,
- were ready, willing, and capable of working each day, and
- received or will receive money other than that already reported.
Waiting period before receiving benefits
You should receive your first payment within 28 days of Service Canada receiving your application and all required documents. However, before you start receiving EI benefits, there may be a one week “waiting period” for which you will not be paid.
Self-employed individuals also have the option to access Employment Insurance special benefits, namely:
- compassionate care,
- Family Caregiver Benefit for Children, and
- Family Caregiver Benefit for Adults.
A self-employed person must first register with the Canada Employment Insurance Commission.
The self-employed individual must meet several criteria, including: being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; operating his or her own business or own more than 40% of a corporation’s voting shares and be ineligible for regular EI benefits. A self-employed individual must wait at least 12 months from registering before qualifying for special benefits. To make a claim, the Commission will require specific documentation, such as a medical certificate.
Benefits for Canadians working abroad
Canadians who work or live outside of Canada may also be eligible for EI benefits. For more information about applying for Employment Insurance, visit canada.ca.
Temporary changes due to COVID-19
Due to the current pandemic, the Government of Canada has implemented temporary changes to various employment law programs and procedures. For the most up-to-date information on changes to the EI program, visit Employment and Social Development Canada.
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