To apply for EI benefits, you must fill out an application online. The online application will give you instructions for sending your documents to Service Canada. If you do not have internet access at home, you can use an internet kiosk at a Service Canada Office or a public internet access site like a library.
Before you go to the Service Canada Office in your area, it is a good idea to call and find out if you need to make an appointment.
If you do not speak English or French, bring someone who can translate for you.
When you go to your appointment or apply online, you should have:
- your Social Insurance Number (SIN) card
- another piece of identification, with a photo
- proof of your immigration status and work permit if your SIN begins with a 9
- your mother’s maiden name
- your mailing address and residential address
- banking information, like a cheque or your bank statement
You also must have:
- the names, addresses, dates of employment, and reason for leaving for all your employers in the last 52 weeks,
- a detailed version of what happened if you quit or were fired from any of these jobs, and
- the dates and your earnings for the highest paid weeks in your qualifying period.
Restarting an existing claim
If you stopped getting EI and did not use up all the benefits you qualified to get, you may be able to restart your claim and collect the benefits you have left. But you usually cannot restart a claim that started more than 52 weeks ago. If you are restarting an existing claim, you might also have to show:
- the amount of salary, before deductions, you received for the last week you worked, including tips and commissions, and
- any other money you got or expect to get, like pay in lieu of notice, vacation pay, or severance pay.
If you are applying for maternity benefits or parental benefits, you will have to sign a statement saying when your baby is due or was born. If you are applying for parental benefits, you will also need the SIN of the other parent.
If you are applying for sickness benefits, you will need a medical certificate. If you are applying for compassionate care benefits, you will need a medical certificate and personal information about the family member who is ill.
If you are applying for the family caregiver benefit for children you will need medical proof that your child is critically ill.
Be sure to apply as soon as you have at least 7 days without work or pay. If you apply more than 4 weeks after you have an interruption of earnings, it may be harder to get approved for EI. If you are approved, you might get less money. This is because there will be a large period of time where you have no hours worked and no money earned.
If you can show there was a good reason why you could not apply within 4 weeks, Service Canada might accept your application as though it was filed right away. This is called an "antedate". To have good cause for the delay, you must show that you did what a reasonable person would have done to figure out the rules and apply on time.