5. Apply for EI

You can apply as soon as your normal weekly earnings are reduced by more than 40%. Applying more than four weeks after you stop work or reduce your hours could make it harder to qualify for EI and could affect how much you get from EI if you do qualify.

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.

Apply to Service Canada

To apply for EI benefits you must fill out an application online. If you don’t 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 don’t speak English or French, bring someone who can translate for you.

You should apply as soon as possible. You don’t need to wait for your employer to issue a (ROE) before you apply.

In your application you must provide:

  • your (SIN) card
  • another piece of identification, with a photo
  • the other parent’s SIN if you are each applying for parental benefits
  • 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 will also need:

  • 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 .

If you quit from any of these jobs, you will also need the facts about what you tried do to fix the problem at work before you left, and if you tried to get other work before you quit.

In addition to filing the usual EI application you must sign a statement saying when your baby is due or was born. If you are adopting and applying for parental benefits, you must sign a statement that says when the adopted child was or is going to be placed with you, and the name of the adoption agency.

If you know when you plan to use your parental benefits, when you apply for maternity benefits, you can tell Service Canada staff when to switch you to parental benefits.

Usually people who are getting EI must send reports to the government every 2 weeks to give information about things like any money they earn. But when you are collecting maternity or parental benefits, you do not have to send in these reports. 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 maternity benefits, any money you earn is deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits. But if you are collecting parental benefits, you are allowed to keep some of the money you earn. This is called an “earnings exemption“.

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