3. Apply for Employment Insurance

Even if you are not sure that you will qualify for benefits, it is still a good idea to apply for Employment Insurance (EI).

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 apply at a Service Canada Office using one of their internet kiosks or at a public internet access site like a library.

Before you go to the Service Canada Office in your area, you should call to 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 (SIN) card
  • another piece of identification, with a photo if possible
  • 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 12  months,
  • 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 .

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 , vacation pay, or .

When you apply for sickness benefits, you have to show your medical certificate.  You must agree in your application to tell Service Canada staff right away about any issues that would change your entitlement to benefits, including any money that you earn.

If you work while collecting sickness benefits, any money you earn is deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits.

Be sure to apply as soon as you stop working. If you apply more than 4 weeks after you stop working, you might receive 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.

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