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Employment Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

What is employment insurance?

Employment insurance (EI) provides temporary financial assistance for Canadians who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. EI is intended to provide assistance to people while they look for work or upgrade their skills.

Are there different types of EI benefits?

Yes. There are three main types of benefits: Regular, Special and Fishing. Special benefits include: maternity, parental, compassionate care and sickness.

 How do you qualify for regular EI benefits?

To qualify for regular EI benefits, you must have:

  • Paid employment insurance premiums;
  • Been without work and pay for at least seven days in a row;


  • And worked sufficient insurable hours to establish a claim.

How do I apply for EI?

The application is submitted online. If you do not have access to internet in your home, you can apply online at any Service Canada Centre, or anywhere else you can access the internet.

The application form and all of the information you need before applying can be found at:


When should I apply for EI?

It is important to apply as soon as possible after your employment ends. If you wait more than four weeks before you apply, you may lose your benefits.

Can I get EI if I’m fired?

You are not entitled to EI regular benefits if you are dismissed for misconduct. However, you may still be eligible for other EI benefits.

If you are dismissed for misconduct, it is important that you contact us for legal advice if you are denied benefits.

Am I required to be looking for work while on EI?

Yes, you must continue to look for work while you are receiving EI. You must apply for vacancies you know about and accept any offer of suitable employment.

You must follow the instructions of the Commission that are made with a view to helping you find suitable employment, including attending any training programs as directed.

Failure to look for work or follow the instructions of the Commission may result a denial of EI benefits.

Does EI exclude me from receiving Ontario Works (OW) or disability benefits from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)?

No, receiving EI does not necessarily exclude you from receiving Ontario Works assistance. However, OW and ODSP consider EI to be income for the purposes of determining whether you are eligible for assistance. This may result in you not qualifying for assistance.

However, if OW and ODSP make a decision that you do not or no longer qualify for assistance, you should contact KCLC immediately to obtain legal advice for your situation.

Can the government deduct money from my EI if I am in debt?

EI may not be deducted to pay money you owe to a person or a company. However, it can be deducted to pay off certain types of debts.

  • EI can take what you owe them out of future EI payments, if they have overpaid you;
  • If you have received assistance from the Government
    (i.e. OW) and you have signed a consent in writing authorizing EI to repay an amount, then EI may deduct this from your benefits;
  • If you owe money for child or spousal support, the Family Responsibility Office may deduct up to half of your benefits toward the support;
  • If you owe taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the CRA may collect the outstanding taxes from your benefits.

Can I receive EI if I have recently declared bankruptcy?

Yes. Filing for bankruptcy does not affect your eligibility for benefits.

Can all income earning members of a household receive EI?

Yes. You and your spouse can both be on EI at the same time. However, only one of you will be eligible to claim the family supplement, which is based on the total family income.

Can I appeal an EI decision?

Yes. You must file an appeal within 30 days from the date which you received the decision.

If you have been denied EI benefits and wish to file an appeal, please contact KCLC for assistance.

For further information about the appeal process see:


Does my employer have to provide a record of employment?

Yes. Your employer must provide you with your record of employment (ROE) or file it electronically within five days.

However, if the employers file the ROE electronically, she does need to give you a copy. However, the Commission recommends that, if you request your ROE, the employer should provide you with a copy as a courtesy. Be sure to remember that you should not deliver the paper copies to a Service Canada office, because when the ROEs are submitted electronically, the information is transmitted directly to Service Canada’s database, where it is used to process EI claims.


This site provides general information only. It is NOT legal advice. Laws, practices and polices change over time. The applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should get legal advice for your particular situation.

Please call us or a lawyer in your area for advice on your particular situation.


Nov 10, 2017

Annual General Meeting 2017

Mary Birdsell, Executive Director, Justice for Children & Youth is our guest speaker. The topic is education rights.

Oct 16, 2017

Your Education Rights

Kingston Community Legal Clinic, in conjunction with TAG - The Action Group on Access to Justice, invites you to a free seminar on the legal rights of children in schools, as part of Access to Justice Week 2017

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