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ACCESSING EI IN B.C.

 
DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

During the COVID-19 pandemic, BCGEU members are STEP 1 UNDERSTAND WHAT TYPE OF EI YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR
experiencing loss of income for a variety of reasons. STEP 2 CALL THE COVID EI HOTLINE
This guide will explain how to apply for Employment STEP 3 GATHER YOUR INFORMATION
Insurance as of March 25th 2020. However, the rules are STEP 4 FILL OUT THE ONLINE EI APPLICATION
changing rapidly so check this link for updates from the STEP 5 CALL SERVICE CANADA (WHO ADMINISTERS EI)
Canadian government. STEP 6 SUBMIT YOUR REQUIRED BI-WEEKLY UPDATES

STEP 1 UNDERSTAND WHAT TYPE OF EI YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR


TYPE 1 THOSE OUT OF WORK DUE TO QUARANTINE
You are eligible for EI Sickness Benefits. You do not have to be laid off by your employer to qualify for EI Sickness Benefits but you
must be able to say that your employer or a medical professional asked that you stay home You must be UNABLE to work from home
to qualify. EI Sickness Benefits may provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement. You will NOT need a medical certificate if you are
under quarantine and the one week wait period has now been waived.

TYPE 2 FOR THOSE OUT OF WORK DUE TO WORKPLACE CLOSURE DUE TO COVID-19
To qualify for regular benefits, you will need to have worked between 420 and 700 hours* of insurable employment from all your
workplaces combined during your qualifying period** .
*The exact number of insurable employment hours you need is based on the unemployment rate in your “EI Economic Region”. You
can find this information by entering your postal code here: https://srv129.services.gc.ca/ei_regions/eng/postalcode_search.aspx. You
will need to select your city in the search results to find your information.
**Your qualifying period is the shorter of:
- the 52 weeks immediately before the start date of your claim; or
- if you applied for and were approved EI in the last 52 weeks, the time between the start of that previous EI period to the start of
your new EI period.
Exception: In some cases, and by providing proof, the qualifying period may be extended to a maximum of 104 weeks if you were not
employed in insurable employment or if you were not receiving EI benefits.

TYPE 3 FOR THOSE ON QUARANTINE THAT MAY FINISH THEIR QUARANTINE TO FIND THEIR WORKPLACE CLOSED
Doctors note requirement is waived during this crisis.

TYPE 4 FOR SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS, THOSE TAKING CARE OF A FAMILY MEMBER/PARENTS WITH CHILDREN WHO
ARE PROVIDING CARE, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER YOU QUALIFY FOR EI OR NOT (GO TO PAGE 5)

STEP 2 CALL THE COVID EI HOTLINE


FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN ASKED BY THEIR EMPLOYER OR A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL TO STAY HOME AND
QUARANTINE DUE TO COVID-19.
TYPE 1   & TYPE 3

Call the COVID-19 EI phone number toll free: 1-833-381-2725. Hours are 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. This number is reserved only for EI
cases impacted by quarantine.
Note: Wait times are currently several hours long due to a high volume of inquiries. While on hold, we suggest completing Steps 3-4 of this guide.

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ACCESSING EI IN B.C. 
DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

STEP 3 GATHER YOUR INFORMATION

TYPE 1  & TYPE 2  & TYPE 3


YOU WILL NEED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ON HAND WHEN YOU FILL OUT YOUR EI APPLICATION:
• The first and last date of your employment.
• Your Social Insurance Number (SIN).  If your SIN begins with a 9, you need to supply proof of your immigration status and work permit.
• Your mother’s maiden name.
• Your mailing and residential addresses, including the postal codes.
See photo below on how to read this information
• Your complete banking information to sign up for direct deposit,
off your cheques:
including the financial institution name, bank branch/transit number,
and account number. You can get this from your online bank account
or a blank cheque.
• Record of Employment (ROE). If your employer will not submit your
ROE online, you can request a paper version from them and mail it to
Services Canada at the address on page 3 of this guide. Note: Your
application will NOT be processed until Service Canada has received
your ROE.
• Names, addresses (including postal codes), and phone number for all
your employers during your qualifying period.
• The gross amount (before deductions) of your “best” (highest earning)
weeks in your qualifying period. Your EI payment will be up to 55% of
this amount (up to a maximum of $573 per week in Vancouver).
→ The number of weeks you can consider to be your “best” (highest earning) will range from 14 to 22, depending on the unem-
ployment rate in your EI Economic Region. Find our how many weeks you can consider for your claim by entering your postal
code here and selecting your city in the search results.
→ Your best weeks do NOT have to be consecutive.
→ You may add together pay from multiple employers per week.
→ If you earned tips as part of your pay, include “controlled” tips in your amount, but not “direct”. For information about the
two types of tips, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/canada-pension-plan-cpp-employment-insur-
ance-ei-rulings/cpp-ei-explained/tips-gratuities.html#control
→ In case you are audited, have available a copy of your paystubs, paycheques or bank statements proving deposit of your
income.
→ To ensure you’re paid the maximum EI amount you’re entitled to, complete the Claimant Attestation form with the required
information.

CLICK THIS LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DOCUMENTS NEEDED:


HTTPS://WWW.CANADA.CA/EN/SERVICES/BENEFITS/EI/EI-REGULAR-BENEFIT/BEFORE-APPLYING.HTML

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ACCESSING EI IN B.C. 
DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

STEP 4 FILL OUT THE ONLINE EI APPLICATION

TYPE 1  & TYPE 2  & TYPE 3

Gather all the above information before you complete the online EI application! Your information is saved for 72 hours (3 days) from
the time you start. If you don’t complete the application, you can come back to it later using a temporary password that you receive
when you start your application.

FILL OUT ONLINE EI APPLICATION AT: 


EI Regular Benefits (https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/apply.html)
• Submit your form online. Once submitted, you will be supplied with a confirmation number — please write it down for reference
later. If you make any mistakes that you realize after submission, there is a number you can call to update your application, this
number will be listed on the page after you submit. 

HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR RECORD OF EMPLOYMENT (ROE):

Online By Mail
https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/ Service Canada Center
programs/ei/ei-list/ei-roe.html W-T Region 
P.o. box 245
Edmonton AB
T5J 2J1

IMPORTANT • SELECTING REASON FOR UNEMPLOYMENT ON EI APPLICATION: 

TYPE 1  & TYPE 3 Select ‘medical leave’ as reason for not working. This is the option that covers quarantine and people staying at
home due to COVID-19 isolation. Medical Leave EI lasts for 14 days (the time period of standard isolation). If you develop symptoms
while collecting medical leave EI due to quarantine, you may need to notify Service Canada to restart your EI period. Although a
doctor’s note is not required to initiate medical leave EI, it is unclear at this time whether you will need a doctor’s note to restart it. 

TYPE 3 If you finish your time in quarantine to find your workplace is closed or unable to provide you with shifts, you can request
your employer email you a ‘layoff’ notice so you may update your EI type after your two-week isolation.  You cannot do this until
your 14-day isolation ‘sick leave’ is over. You must call 1-833-381-2725 (toll free) to change your EI claim type.

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ACCESSING EI IN B.C. 
DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

STEP 5 SPEAK TO SERVICE CANADA!

TYPE 1  & TYPE 3

• They will ask you for your SIN and some information such as your name and birthdate to locate your EI application you just sub-
mitted online.

• They will read you a statement and ask for a “yes” or “no” answer based on your situation. The statement is: “I am currently out
of work or in quarantine under the advisement of my doctor, a health care professional, or by request of my employer.”
• If you agree to this statement, the one week waiting period that is standard with new EI claims is waived.
• If you do not agree to this statement, you will be re-directed to apply for EI using the standard online form and will have to
wait one week before receiving EI payments.

RECEIVE EI PAYMENTS
Processing of your application by Service Canada may take up to three weeks due to overwhelming demand during the
pandemic. If three weeks has passed since you submitted your completed application (which must include your ROE), call
Service Canada toll-free at 1-800-531-7555.
When your application has been successfully processed, you will receive a login number (digital ID) in the mail. Keep this
information for completing the next step.

STEP 6 SUBMIT YOUR BI-WEEKLY UPDATES

TYPE 1 & TYPE 2 & TYPE 3

A requirement of receiving EI is supplying Service Canada with bi-weekly updates of your employment situation, including if you are
no longer in quarantine or if your employer has resumed operations.

Submit your bi-weekly updates by calling 1-800-531-7555* or online through your My Services Canada account:
https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/my-account.html

* Service Canada agents will usually ask for the first two digits of your four-digit access code (mailed to you when your application
was approved) and are trained to ask for the last three digits of your SIN. Generally, you will NOT be asked for your full SIN over the
phone.

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ACCESSING EI IN B.C. 
DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (DOES NOT APPLY TO TYPE 1, 2 & 3)


TYPE 4
Announced March 25, 2020, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for
workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This benefit replaces the previously announced Emergency Care
Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency
(CRA) and provide income support to:
• Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
• Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly
parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
• Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment
income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.
CERB provides a flat benefit of $2,000 per four week period, to a maximum of 16 weeks, for workers who have been out of work for 14
consecutive days in any four-week period. To qualify for CERB benefits, applicants must (a) be a resident of Canada, (b) be 15 years or
older, and (c) have had a total income of at least $5,000 (combined) in 2019 or in the 12 months immediately preceding the applica-
tion, from employment income, self-employment income, and maternity or parental leave benefits.
APPLICATIONS FOR THE BENEFIT WILL BE AVAILABLE IN APRIL 2020, AND REQUIRE CANADIANS TO ATTEST THAT
THEY MEET THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS. THEY WILL NEED TO RE-ATTEST EVERY TWO WEEKS TO RECONFIRM
THEIR ELIGIBILITY. CANADIANS WILL SELECT ONE OF THREE CHANNELS TO APPLY FOR THE BENEFIT:
• by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
• by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
• by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

DO I HAVE TO PAY TAXES ON EI?


Yes. EI benefits are taxable, no matter what type of benefits you receive. Federal and provincial or territorial taxes, where appli-
cable, will therefore be deducted from your payment.

CAN I WORK WHILE RECEIVING EI?


Yes, but you must report your income and there will be deductions. If you work while receiving regular benefits, you will be
able to keep 50 cents of your EI benefits for every dollar you earn, up to 90 percent of the weekly insurable earnings used to
calculate your EI benefit amount. This 90 percent amount is called the earnings threshold. If you earn any money above this
threshold, it will be deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits.
When you work and receive benefits at the same time, you must report your work earnings and hours for each week you work,
in the week in which the work occurred.
V4 • 04 14 2020

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT RECEIVING EI BENEFITS:


https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/working-while-claim.html
https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/while-receiving.html

Thank you to Chris MacKay from Vancouver who compiled a lot of these resources. We will keep this document up to date as things change.
Please free to send any questions or comments you have about this document to communications@bcgeu.ca.