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Applying for EI during Covid-19

It’s a difficult time for many working people in Canada, and all over the world right now.  Workers who are still on the job are having to risk exposing themselves, and their families, to COVID-19 in order to provide us with access to food and healthcare, along with ensuring our safety and security.  For others, the global pandemic has meant going without a pay cheque.  Fortunately, there is financial assistance available through two programs run by the federal government; Employment Insurance (EI) and the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)


Employment Insurance (EI):

What you’ll need:

You will need a record of employment (ROE) for any jobs you’ve had in the past 52 weeks. Your employer may submit these documents electronically or you may have to request that they provide a copy to you and/or Service Canada.

To get an application for EI benefits started, please follow these steps:

  1. Visit www.canada.ca and click the link for EI Benefits. 
  2. Once you’re on the EI page you will have the option of choosing which type of benefit to apply for. 
    – If you’re applying for benefits because you are sick or quarantined you should apply for sickness benefits.  
    – If you applying because you have been laid off from work apply for regular benefits. Clicking either of these options will present you with a series of questions about your work history and earnings over the past 52 weeks, it’s helpful to have copies of your pay stubs on hand if your pay changed throughout the year.

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Not all workers impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic qualify for Employment Insurance Benefits.  These workers may qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) that was announced by the federal government on March 25, 2020.

This benefit is meant to cover workers who must stop working due to Covid-19 and do not have access to other paid leave or supports; workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with Covid-19; and parents who must stay home without pay to care for their children due to Covid-19.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is a taxable benefit, which will provide up to $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who have lost employment due to Covid-19 and will be available from March 15, 2020, through to October 3, 2020.

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