Guide to Employment Insurance


Introduction

Apprentices attending a recognized Apprenticeship Training program may apply to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to collect Employment Insurance (EI) and/or Training Allowance (TA) while in school.  Click here to Apply Online.

The objective of this program is to provide you income support while you are in school; it is not the objective of this program to replace your income fully while you are in school (Note 1).
This information is provided to you to assist in the Employment Insurance Application process. It is our experience that EI claims can be processed quickly, efficiently and with little interruption providing the initial application forms are complete and all the necessary documentation is attached.
Please read through the below information carefully.

Should you have further questions regarding the information contained in this package, please contact OIFSC staff.

 

EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

1. How the process works:

1. Eight weeks prior to the start of a class, OIFSC will invite you to school. You must call the school to confirm your attendance for the class.
2. Two week before the class starts, we will notify HRSDC of your attendance. This allows EI representatives to begin background preparation work to speed up the processing of your claim.
3. You collect and verify all the required documents before attending class.
4. OIFSC staff will meet with you on your 1st day of class to review your documentation with you to ensure its completeness and correctness (Note 2), and to identify additional information you may require.
5. EI Representatives will arrive at OIFSC the first week of class to have apprentices fill out the required forms.
6. EI Representatives will then go back to their offices and verify the information you provided and then start your claim.
7. Apprentices can expect to receive their first cheque up to 3 weeks after filing their claim, if there are no problems with your claim (see Common causes of delays below).

2. EI basics:

  • Apprentices must at some time during their three school sessions serve a 2-week waiting period (i.e., the apprentice does not receive payment for the first two weeks of their claim). Typically this occurs for Basic Level (Note 3) apprentices, and if this happens to you there is no waiting period in subsequent training sessions.
  • Additional to EI, apprentices may qualify to receive supplemental benefits called “Training Allowance (TA)”. TA may include travel, living away from home allowance, daycare, etc.  In order to qualify for the TA:
    •  you must be collecting EI, or
    •  if you do not qualify for EI but have collected EI in the past 3 years, you may still be able to collect TA through a “reachback” program. EI representatives can determine this for you.
  • If you are on social assistance you may not qualify for EI because you are receiving income from another source. EI representatives can provide you with further information on this.
  • We strongly recommend that if you have already served your 2 week waiting period, you do not request your employer to lay you off a couple of weeks before class starts, nor do we recommend that if you are laid off a couple of weeks before class starts, that you start a “regular” EI claim as it will likely delay your benefits.
  • If you are already on an EI claim prior to starting school where you must submit cards to HRSDC every week, continue to do so until you are told otherwise.

3. What you need to do:

  • Bring in all Records of Employment (ROE) for ALL employers you have worked for in the last 2 years or since your last claim (Note 4), whichever of the two periods is the shorter. If ROEs are missing this may cause delays in filing your claim.
  • Have your Social Insurance Number with you.
  • Provide correct mailing address and other contact information.
  • Inform EI representatives of how you would like to receive your benefits, i.e. via cheque or direct deposit. If you choose direct deposit be sure and have a void cheque(s) with you. (You will need one void cheque for your EI claim and a second void cheque for your Training Allowance claim).
  • Inform EI representatives if you are in receipt of other benefits such as Social Assistance or Disability Benefits.
  • If you are absent when EI representatives are on-site, it is your responsibility to attend the Etobicoke HRSDC office in person to file your claim. Their address is included below (Note 5).
  • Ensure you sign all your forms where indicated.
  • Double check with your employer that they put the correct “reason” code on your ROE, (e.g. You are being laid off for Apprenticeship Training)

4. Common causes of delays in payment or denial of claims:

  • Missing ROEs.
  • Apprentice has applied for EI prior to attending school and their claim is not fully processed.
  • Incomplete applications.
  • Incorrect information (e.g. mailing address, or use of the wrong code on the ROE).
  • Missing signatures.
  • Void cheques are from old, closed bank accounts.
  • Apprentice moves and does not inform HRSDC.
  • Apprentice owes money to HRSDC for past overpayments.
  • Apprentice is collecting money from other government source, i.e. Social Assistance, Disability benefits, etc.
  • Apprentice is no longer in school. When an apprentice withdraws or is terminated from class, OIFSC will notify HRSDC that the apprentice is no longer enrolled in our program.

5. What OIFSC staff is committed to doing to help you:

  • Meet with you before you meet with EI to help ensure you have the proper documents to facilitate an efficient processing time for your claim.
  • Contact EI representatives on your behalf if your claim is delayed, i.e. you have not received any payment after 3 weeks of having filed your application.
  • Advocate for you to HRSDC to ensure you receive the maximum benefit possible.
  • Work with you and HRSDC to resolve problems as quickly as possible.
  • Provide you with the most accurate information we can. If we do not have the answers to your questions, we will do our best to provide you with answers as quickly as possible.
  • Provide HRSDC with a list of confirmed students 2 weeks prior to the start of a class.

6. What OIFSC staff requires from you:

  • Honesty. We can’t and won’t help you if you are dishonest and/or negligent. In our experience, HRSDC catches all cases where claimants are dishonest with them. Dishonesty will at best, substantially delay your claim and may in fact penalize you more than that. You must provide all details regarding your situation when OIFSC is contacting HRSDC for you. The moment we determine you are being dishonest or negligent we will cease to assist you.
  • Plan for the fact that you will be living for 8 weeks with a reduced income. In most cases, HRSDC pays 55% of your gross salary to a maximum of $413 per week. You can still work and earn up to 25% of your benefits without being penalized.

 

Notes:

  1. We strongly recommend that you plan for income disruption that will likely occur while you are in school and save accordingly to be able to meet your ongoing needs.
  2. The apprentice is responsible for providing accurate and complete information to HRSDC in order to ensure timely process of claims. If the information you provide is incorrect or incomplete, HRSDC will contact us, but be aware that this will delay your claim.
  3. If an apprentice is already on a separate EI claim when starting Basic Apprenticeship training, their benefits will continue uninterrupted and the apprentice will serve the waiting period when returning to school for Intermediate Level Training.
  4. You will need to have worked a minimum number of hours before you qualify for EI. The hours that are counted are the ones worked in the 52 weeks before the start date of our claim. If you are a “new entrant” to the workforce you will need 910 hours. A new entrant is someone who does not have 490 hours of work or a 14 week attachment to the workforce between the 53rd and 104th weeks prior to the start date of their claim. If you are not a new entrant, you will need 420 to 700 hours of work according to the unemployment rate in the area which is your usual place of residence. Learn more.
  5. Etobicoke HRSDC Address: Building Dundas-Kipling Centre, Phase II, Suite 105 for client service, 5343 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, Ontario.  Learn more.