How to apply for Employment Insurance benefits

Official title: Employment Insurance - How to apply for Employment Insurance benefits

This brochure provides you with detailed instructions on how to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Be sure to apply as soon as you stop working, even if you don't have your Records of Employment.


You do not need your Records of Employment to complete your EI application.

Applying for EI benefits online

To find out if you can receive EI benefits, you must submit an application online.

You can apply:

  1. At home

    If you have access to the Internet at home, you can apply for EI benefits from there—24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  2. At a Service Canada Centre

    You can apply online at any Service Canada Centre using one of the many Internet kiosks available. To find out when your local Service Canada Centre is open.
  3. At a public Internet access site

    There are various locations in your community, such as public libraries, where you can access the Internet to apply for EI benefits.

What information do I need to apply?

To complete the online EI application form, you will need the following personal information:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN) – if your SIN begins with a 9, you will need to provide proof of your immigration status and work permit;
  • your mother's maiden name;
  • your mailing and residential addresses, including the postal codes - if you do not have a usual place of residence, you must apply in person at your local Service Canada Centre and;
  • your complete banking information, including the financial institution name and number, the branch number, and your account number, if you want to apply for direct deposit.

You may also need the following related information or documents if you are applying for EI special benefits:

  • If you are applying for parental benefits, you will need to provide the SIN of the other parent.
  • If you are applying for sickness benefits, you will need to obtain a medical certificate.
  • If you are applying for compassionate care benefits, you will need to provide a medical certificate and information about the gravely ill family member, such as first and last name, date of birth, and residential address.

You will also need the following employment information if you are or were an employee:

  • the names and addresses of all employers you worked for in the last 52 weeks, as well as the dates of employment and reasons for separation from these employers;
  • your detailed version of the facts, if you quit or were dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks; and
  • 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.

If you are a self-employed person who has registered to access EI Special Benefits for Self-Employed People, you will also need to provide your self-employment earnings for the previous tax year (the exact amount, or the estimated amount if you have not filed your income tax and benefit return). If you are applying for sickness benefits, you will need to provide a medical certificate.

Reactivating an existing claim

If you started a new EI claim within the last 52 weeks and there are still weeks payable on that claim, we will automatically reactivate (renew) your existing claim. You will need to provide the following information:

  • the salary amount before deductions you received for the last week you worked (from Sunday to your last day of work), including tips and commissions; and
  • any other amounts you received or will receive (for example, vacation pay, severance pay, pension income, pay in lieu of notice, or other separation payments).

Completing the EI application form

It will take about 60 minutes to complete the application form online.

The website takes you step by step through the application process, and provides detailed instructions on how to complete the form.


After you complete the online EI application form, you will receive a confirmation number electronically as proof that we received your application. Be sure to keep this number for future reference.

After you apply

Now that you have submitted your EI application, we need to receive your Records of Employment (ROEs) before we can process it.

  • If your employers issue ROEs in paper format, you must Request copies of all ROEs issued to you during the last 52 weeks. You will need to provide us with these paper ROEs – we cannot finalize your application until we receive them. You must either drop off your paper ROEs in person at any Service Canada Centre or mail them to us. The mailing address of the appropriate Service Canada Centre will be provided to you when you complete your online application.
  • If your employers submit ROEs electronically to Service Canada, you do not need to request copies of your Records of Employment from your employers.

When will I know whether or not I am entitled to receive EI benefits?

  • If you are entitled to receive benefits, you should receive your first payment within 28 days of the date we receive your claim.
  • If you are not entitled to receive benefits, we will notify you by letter or by telephone to explain why. If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to request a reconsideration.

Receiving your EI benefits

Shortly after you file your EI application, we will mail you an EI benefit statement, which will provide you with your EI access code. Your Access Code is needed to submit your required bi-weekly reports and to get information about your claim. Access the instructions on when and how to complete your reports with our Internet Reporting Service or our Telephone Reporting Service.


Keep in mind that receiving the EI benefit statement does not mean that your application has been approved.

Getting information about your EI claim

You can get information about your EI claim by:

  • visiting My Service Canada Account on the Service Canada website; or
  • calling the toll-free EI Telephone Information Service.

My Service Canada Account

My Service Canada Account is a secure online tool that gives you access to all your EI information in one place. With My Service Canada Account, you can:

  • confirm any decisions made about your EI application;
  • see details on your payments and deductions;
  • view and update your personal information; and
  • view all Records of Employment that your employers have submitted electronically in the last two years.

Visit My Service Canada Account.

EI telephone information service

You can also use the EI Telephone Information Service to get information about your claim. If you call us, you can select the information you need from the menu options provided. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 1-800-206-7218. If you have a hearing or speech impairment and use a teletypewriter (TTY), call 1-800-529-3742 (English and French).

Looking for a job

To look for a new job, visit the Job Bank website. The Job Bank is an electronic listing of current jobs being offered by employers from across Canada.

If you are interested in exploring employment or training programs that could help you return to work, visit the Service Canada website.

For more information about EI benefits

Service Canada has produced a series of EI-related videos. To watch them, visit our website.


Knowingly making a false or misleading statement is considered an offence under the Employment Insurance Act.

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