Employment Insurance for apprentices

If you have been referred by your province or territory to attend full-time technical training (sometimes referred to as block-release training), you may be eligible to receive Employment Insurance (EI) benefits while unemployed and attending your course. The following steps will help guide you through the application process to allow for more efficient processing of your benefits.

If you have lost your job through no fault of your own, and you are not attending full-time technical training, visit the EI regular benefits page to apply for benefits.

Get your reference code before you apply for EI

  • You must provide proof of referral to receive EI benefits. Your province, territory, or training institution will issue you a 16 digit reference code as proof of referral when you are approved to attend full-time technical training. You will be asked to provide it when you complete your online application.
  • If you do not know, or have not received your reference code, contact your province, territory, or training institution before you go on full-time technical training.

Apply for EI

  • Apply for EI benefits up to seven days before your last day of work using our online application.
  • You must provide all Records of Employment (ROEs) issued to you over the past 52 weeks.
    • If your employer issues ROEs in paper format, you must request copies of all ROEs issued to you during the last 52 weeks and provide them to Service Canada as soon as possible after you submit your EI application. You must either mail Service Canada the original copies of your paper ROEs or drop them off in person at a Service Canada Centre. The mailing address will be provided to you on the Information Confirmation page once you submit your online application for EI benefits.
  • If your employer submits ROEs electronically to Service Canada, you do not need to provide copies to Service Canada. You can view copies of your electronic ROEs by visiting My Service Canada Account.
  • If you are leaving work for the sole purpose of attending full-time technical training for which you are referred by your province or territory, your apprentice employer should use Code J in block 16 as the reason for issuing the ROE.
  • Errors or delays in providing your ROE may lead to delays in receiving benefits.
  • If you applied for, or are already receiving EI before you start your full-time technical training, contact Service Canada to provide your proof of referral to receive EI benefits while on training.

Create or update your online profile

Sign-in to My Service Canada Account (MSCA) to access your EI information online, including your electronic ROE.

Find out what other information you need to know

  • Before you can start receiving EI benefits, there is a two-week waiting period during which you will not be paid. However, as an apprentice you are only required to serve one two-week waiting period for each apprenticeship.
  • You can request to be exempt from submitting bi-weekly reports to Service Canada while receiving EI and attending full-time technical training. If you choose to be exempt from submitting reports and you work or have earnings, you must contact Service Canada to report the work and earnings.
  • You must be referred by the province or territory for each block of full-time technical training that is required as part of your apprenticeship. You will therefore be issued a new reference code for each new block of training. Reference codes are time sensitive with fixed start and end dates.
  • If you are leaving work for the sole purpose of attending full-time technical training, your EI benefits will stop on the last day of your course.
  • You may be eligible for regular EI benefits at other times of the year should you experience a job separation for reasons such as seasonal unemployment or termination of employment. You may also be eligible for EI special benefits.
  • As an apprentice, you may be entitled to receive other financial support from the Government of Canada, such as the Apprenticeship Loan and Apprenticeship Grants. Apprenticeship Grant payments are not considered earnings from employment so they do not affect your EI benefits.
  • You may also be eligible for financial assistance through your province or territory to help cover costs while attending your technical training, including accommodations, child care, and transportation.

Visit Support for apprentices for information on more programs available to help apprentices complete their training and for employers to hire and train apprentices.

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