Registering for Benefits in Canada

Understand the conditions of obtaining assistance and the application process...

If a work contract has come to an end or a worker has lost their job through no fault of their own, the first thing to do is to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits through Service Canada. Records of Employment (ROEs) must be provided by the employer when an employee stops working, even if the person does not intend to claim EI benefits.

A person who leaves a job or is dismissed for misconduct is not entitled to EI benefits.

The conditions for receiving a benefit are dependent on a number of things, such as whether the individual has paid EI contributions, has worked the required number of hours over the last 52 week period, has lost their job through no fault of their own and is actively looking for employment.

The application for EI benefit must be made online or at one of the Internet kiosks in a Service Canada Centre. The online application takes about 60 minutes.

There is no minimum or maximum age for receiving EI benefits. Anyone who continues to work over the age of 65 years, is still eligible to receive EI payments, provided they meet all the conditions.

Registration for Employment Insurance Benefits

The application for EI benefits should be made within four weeks of losing employment or benefits may be lost. Registration with My Service Canada Account is required to submit the online application.

Records of Employment (ROEs) covering the past year should either be mailed to the relevant office or given to a representative at a local Service Canada office.

The following personal and employment information must also be provided:

  • Social Insurance Number
  • Mother's maiden name
  • Address
  • Bank account details
  • Employment details: names and addresses of employers over the past year, reasons for dismissal or for leaving employment
  • Salary amount
  • Apply online

After application submitted

Once the application for EI benefits has been submitted, a confirmation number will be issued along with details about the procedure. Additional supporting documents or information may be requested.

Shortly after the confirmation number has been allocated, a benefit statement will be sent to the applicant. This provides an access code and details about how and when to submit EI reports.

This statement does not mean that the EI benefit has been approved. If all supporting documents have been received by Service Canada and the EI reports completed, payment will be issued within 28 days. The applicant will be notified if the benefit cannot be paid.

There is a two week waiting period which is enforced before EI benefits begin; this is normally the first two weeks of the claim while the application is being processed.

Contributions

To be eligible to receive benefits, a sufficient number of contributions must have been paid while in employment. There is normally a maximum amount of contributions which can be paid into an EI account. Contributions are automatically deducted from the employee's salary by the employer.

For most people, the basic rate for EI benefits is equivalent to 55 percent of their weekly average earnings. For those living in designated economic regions, weekly amounts are calculated slightly differently. There is no minimum or maximum age for paying EI contributions.