About Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance (EI) provides temporary financial assistance in the form of benefits for some workers. There are different types of benefits:

  • Regular benefits are usually for workers who have lost their job. However, workers qualify when they have an “interruption of earnings,” so they may also qualify for benefits during lay-offs.
  • Maternity/parental benefits are paid to individuals who are pregnant, have recently given birth, are adopting a child or are caring for a new-born.
  • Compassionate Care benefits are paid to persons who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death.
  • Sickness benefits are for workers who are unable to work due to injury or sickness.

The EI system is administered by the federal government through Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).


Workers qualify if they have worked a certain number of hours during a specific amount of time, called a qualifying period, and if they have not quit without “just cause” or lost their job “because of their misconduct.” The required number of hours varies depending on the local unemployment rate however workers should apply even if they may not have enough hours as the rate may change and they may become eligible. The table of hours required can be obtained from the local Service Canada office.

The Service Canada Office in London is located at:

457 Richmond St.  London, ON  N6A 3E3

How do I apply for Employment Insurance (EI)?

Workers can apply online, over the phone, or at their local Service Canada office:

Apply Online

Employment Insurance Telephone Information Service: 1-800-206-7218

Even if you do not have your Record of Employment, apply for Employment Insurance benefits as soon as possible. Your Record of Employment can be submitted at a later date, when received. Applying for Employment Insurance as soon as possible is important because; there is a two week waiting period from the time you apply for EI, and the longer you wait to apply, the more likely you will not have enough hours to be eligible. Therefore applying as soon as possible ensures you get your benefits sooner, and prevents you from being ineligible in the future.

Once you have applied for EI, it usually takes 28 days from the date the ESDC receives your application to begin collecting EI benefits. If ESDC decides that you do not qualify for EI they will notify you by mail. You can appeal this decision. Below you will find the appeal process outlined.

What is the process for appealing a decision?

Our clinic does provide service in this area including summary advice and legal representation at the Social Security Tribunal, depending on the merits of your case and financial eligibility.

Keep in mind:

You may appeal decisions made by ESDC, for reasons such as:

  • EI benefits have been refused
  • Benefits received are to be repaid
  • A warning letter has been given or a penalty has been assessed

Call us for help and advice on your specific situation.

For areas where we cannot assist we will provide referrals to the appropriate agency.