Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can’t find a job.

The information below has been gathered using resources available online and may assist you in your application to receive employment insurance benefits. If you have specific questions about the application process, please visit the Government of Canada’s website.


Step 1: Pick the type of applicant you are to see which steps are relevant to you

EI Applicant Type:

      T1. For those out of work due to self-quarantine. Do not have to be laid off by your employer to qualify, but must be able to say your employer or a medical professional asked that you stay home. You must be unable to work from home to qualify.

      T2. For those out of work due to workplace closure due to COVID-19. Must have worked a combined total of 700 hours in the last year if you worked in Vancouver. This is all your workplaces combined. Proceed to step 3.

      T3. For those on quarantine that may finish their quarantine to find their workplace closed.


Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan Info:



Province of British Columbia COVID-19 action plan info:



Up to date info page on EI stance on COVID-19:

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Employment and Social Development Canada

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine.

The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim

Priority EI application processing for EI sickness claims for clients under quarantine.

People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate benefits due to the quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay.


Step 2: Call the COVID-19 EI Hotline: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)

T1 & T3

Hours are 8:30am – 4:30pm

Plan to be on hold for several hours. Make sure you have your phone plugged in, on speaker, and somewhere you will be able to answer quickly when they pick up.

Complete the next steps while on hold. 


Step 3: Gather your information

T1 &  T2 & T3

Have the following information on hand to fill out your EI application:

  • The first and last date of your employment
  • Your 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
  • Your complete banking information to sign up for direct deposit, including the financial institution name, bank branch number, and account number. You can get this from your online bank account or a blank cheque. See photo below on how to read this information off your cheques:

  • Names, addresses (including postal codes), phone number for all your employers over the last 52 weeks
  • Pay stub or cheque for your highest-earning two week period in the last year
    • A review of your bank statements may assist in sourcing your cheque deposits if you do not have hardcopy pay stubs
    • Must be two consecutive weeks
    • Combine income from all employers
    • List the amount before deductions


Step 4: Fill out the online EI application

T1 &  T2 & T3

Fill out online EI application at EI Regular Benefits – Apply

Submit your form online. Once submitted, you will be supplied with a confirmation number, please write it down for reference later. 

Your employer is able to submit your Record of Employment (ROE) online, or if they will not, you can request a paper version from them and mail it. 

Your application will not be approved until your ROE is obtained by Services Canada.

By Mail:

Service Canada Center
W-T Region
P.O. Box 245
Edmonton, AB
T5J 2J1


Selecting the reason for unemployment on EI application:

T1 & T3: Select ‘medical leave’ as a reason for not working. This is the option that covers quarantine and people staying at home due to COVID-19 isolation. This will last for 14 days (time of standard isolation), and if you develop symptoms during this period of isolation, you may need to restart the clock. Currently, the ‘medical note’ is waived for this isolation period. 

T3: If you finish your time in quarantine to find your workplace is closed or unable to provide you with shifts, you can request your work email you a ‘layoff’ notice so you may update your EI type after your 2-week isolation.  You can not do this until your 14-day isolation ‘sick leave’ is over. You must call to change your EI claim type after 2 weeks. Toll-free number: 1-833-381-2725

 T2: If your workplace is closing due to COVID-19, ask your employer for a notice of layoff until work can restart. You may select the reason for no work as ‘layoff’ (option 1) instead of ‘medical leave’, and do not have to reapply once quarantine is over.


Step 5: You have been on hold and your call is picked up

T1 & T3

Supply your SIN and confirmation information (name, birthdate)

You may be asked if “you are currently out of work or in quarantine under the advisement of your doctor, a health care professional or by request of your 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 with this statement, this hotline is not for you and can’t help, please use the standard online EI form instead. 


Step 6: Bi-weekly updates and final steps

T1 &  T2 & T3

A requirement if EI is supplying Services Canada with bi-weekly updates. This includes if your situation has changed, say you are no longer in quarantine or your work has reopened. You can submit your updates on your My Services Canada page.

Bi-weekly reporting can also be called in at 1-800-531-7555.

A login number (digital ID) will be mailed to you when your application is processed. It may take up to 3 weeks to process due to overwhelming demand during this pandemic.


Still, have questions? Try here


Thank you to Christina MacKay from Vancouver who compiled a lot of these resources. Source document.