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Applying for employment insurance: a how-to guide for Unifor members

Unifor has launched a hub for member information about the pandemic at unifor.org/COVID19 and encourages members to check the site regularly for updates.

Applying for employment insurance: a how-to guide for unifor members

Efforts made by businesses, governments and individuals to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19 are welcome. As expected, these efforts are taking a toll on workers and the economy. As business slows down, factories temporarily close, and non-essential shops and services lock their doors, more workers in Canada will face layoff, and look to access Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to help cover lost income.

The Employment Insurance system is built to provide income assistance to workers on lay-off (through not fault of their own). Workers contribute to the system each year, as do employers, and are entitled to the benefits it provides as long as they are eligible (for eligibility criteria, click here or visit www.unifor.org/COVID-19 for additional resources).

During this extraordinary economic situation, workers may be applying for regular EI benefits for the first time (Note: Regular benefits apply to layoff for economic or other reasons. If you are off because you are sick, or in self-isolation, you should apply for EI sickness benefits. For more information EI sickness benefits click here).

For some applicants, the process can be challenging. To assist, Unifor has prepared the following “How-To” guide that takes you through the online application process, step-by-step.

Let’s get started!    

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BEFORE YOU START

To complete the online EI application, you will need the following 8 pieces of information and resources:

  1. your Social Insurance Number (SIN);
  2. your mother's maiden name;
  3. your mailing and residential addresses, including postal codes;
  4. your complete banking information, including the financial institution name and number, the branch number, and your account number for direct deposit of benefits;
  5. the names and addresses of all employers you worked for in the last 52 weeks, as well as the dates of employment and the reasons for separation from these employers;
  6. if accessible, the dates (Sunday to Saturday) and earnings for each of your highest paid weeks of insurable earnings in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is the shorter period. This information will be used, along with your Record(s) of Employment, to calculate your weekly EI benefit rate.
  7. pen and paper
  8. access to a printer (helpful, but not necessary)

STEP 1: When to apply

Apply as soon as you stop working. You can apply online at home. The website takes you step by step through the application process.

STEP 2: How to apply

STEP 3: Filling out the application

  • The online application form will then ask you a series of questions (listed below). Here is how you can answer them.
    1. Are you trying to retrieve an application you began within the last 72 hours but did not complete?

Click “Yes” if already started process or “No” if starting a new application. Then click “Continue”

  1. What type of Employment Insurance benefits would you like to claim?

Click “Benefits for employees”, Click “Continue”

  1. Reference Code

Click “No”, Click “Continue”
 

  1. Benefit Type

    Click “Regular”,
    Click “Continue”. Read Instructions, Click “Continue”
     
  2. Identity Information

    Input your Social Insurance Number (SIN), Date of Birth, Last Name, First Name, Last Name at Birth, Gender and Mother’s Maiden Name.
    Click “Continue”
     
  3. Identity Validation

    Review for accuracy,
    Click “Continue”
     
  4. Temporary Password (8 digit number),


Write down the temporary password, Click “Continue”
 

  1. Personal Information

    ‘Speaking’, click “English” (or your preferred language),

‘Writing’, click “English” (or your preferred language).

‘Mailing’, enter your postal code, then click “Retrieve Address”. Click on range and select your address. Complete street number.

Is your residential address different than your mailing address?” Select appropriate response and enter residential address if it is different.

Confirm accuracy, Click “Continue”.
 

  1. Programs and Services


“I am”, Click status or if none applicable, Click “Continue”.
 

  1. Income Tax Information


How will you access your T4E?” click by mail. “Personal Tax Credit” click “Basic”, Click “Continue”.

  1. Direct Deposit


Click “Yes” if you have set up direct deposit, confirm using same direct deposit information or Click “No” if you have NOT set up direct deposit, provide bank information. Click “Continue”
 

  1. Other Personal Information

    Indicate highest level of education, Click appropriate response.

“Are you a member of a Union or Professional Association?” Click “Yes”, Type “Unifor” and enter your local number. Click “Continue”.
 

  1. Last Employer Information


Enter Business Name, Enter First Day Worked (this is your hire date), Enter Last Day Worked, “Will you be returning to work with this employer?” Click “Yes”, “Do you know the date of your return?” Click “No”. Click “Continue”
 

  1. Reason for Separation


Click “There was a shortage of work (includes closure due to COVID-19, layoff, end of contract or season and office closure).” Click “Continue”.
 

  1. Rate of Pay


No need to enter rate, Click “Continue”.
 

  1. Job Title Information


Enter “Job Title”, Click “Job Search”, Select job title from list. Confirm and Click “Continue”
 

  1. ROE Information


Click “I have a paper Record of Employment and will submit it or have submitted it to Service Canada or my employer submitted the Record of Employment electronically.” Click “Continue”.
 

  1. Other Employers


Click “Yes” if you have other employment or “No” if you have no other employment, Click “Continue”
 

  1. Other Employer Information
     

If you answered “Yes” to the question above, then:
Enter Business Name, Enter Last Day Worked, Click “Continue

  1. Reason for Separation Click “There was a shortage of work (includes closure due to COVID-19, layoff, end of contract or season and office closure).” Click “Continue”.
  2. ROE Information Click “I have a paper Record of Employment and will submit it or have submitted it to Service Canada or my employer submitted the Record of Employment electronically.” Click “Continue”.
  3. Summary of Employer if no other employers Click “Continue”
     
  4. Information on Quebec Parental Insurance Plan benefits


Answer based on your personal circumstances (for Quebec residents only), Click “Continue”
 

  1. Workers Compensation Payments


Answer based on your personal circumstances, Click “Continue”
 

  1. Information on Pensions


Answer based on your personal circumstances, Click “Continue”
 

  1. Business Relationship


Answer based on your personal circumstances, Click “Continue”
 

  1. Variable Best Weeks


Click “Yes” if you worked less than 22 weeks in the last 52 weeks, Click “No” otherwise

  1. If you clicked “Yes” above, complete Work History, then Click “Continue”
  2. If you clicked “No” above, complete the following:
    1. Average earnings, Click based on personal circumstances, then:
    2. Would you like to now provide the details for each week of your highest earnings? (This is a required question), Click “No” – unless you are prepared to answer.
       
  1. Self-Employment Information


Are you self-employed, other than fishing or farming?” answer based on your personal circumstances, Click “Continue”.

*If you clicked “Yes” to the above question, complete Self Employment Information, then click “Continue”
 

  1. Farm Information

Do you or will you declare farming income on your Income Tax Return?” answer based on your personal circumstances, Click “Continue”.

*If you clicked “Yes” to the above question, complete Farm Information, then click “Continue”
 

  1. Course or Training Program


“Are you taking or will you be taking a course or training program?” answer based on your personal circumstances, Click “Continue”.

*If you clicked “Yes” to the above question, complete Course or Training Information, then click “Continue”
 

  1. Third Party Assistance


Click “No”, Click “Continue”

  1. Rights and Responsibilities


(6 pages) Read carefully, Click “Continue” after each page. On page 6, Click “I accept my rights & responsibilities.” Click “Continue”
 

  1. Attestation


Click “accept the above attestation and want to submit my Application for Employment Insurance benefits online.” Click “Submit”
 

  1. Confirmation and Information

Print both the “Confirmation” and “Rights and Obligations” for your records. Click “Exit the Confirmation Page” Note: If you are unable to print, please write down the confirmation number and put it in a safe place.

That completes the application process. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Service Canada, using their toll-free assistance line: 1-800-206-7218.

Keep in mind, Service Canada is handling an unprecedented number of questions and claims, and call wait times may be extensive.