An estimated 1.5 million Canadians are now unemployed in the wake of coronavirus-related layoffs, but according to one study, one third of them won’t be covered by Employment Insurance (EI).
But you won’t know whether you’re part of that one-third until you’ve actually tried applying for EI — and that’s a can of worms on its own.
If you’re one of the 500,000 Canadians who attempted to claim EI two weeks ago, or the hundreds of thousands more who’ve tried since then, you’ll know that the procedure is a complete and utter nightmare.
Even if you follow step-by-step instructions, the system is already over-flooded with other applicants (and in some cases, technical issues) that are sure to slow down the process.
For first-timers, don’t even think about calling Service Canada for answers about how to fill out the online form: they can’t take your call right now.
Then there’s determining what type of EI to apply for, or deciding whether you qualify for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit instead. Have you worked enough hours? Do you even qualify for either?
Also make sure to get all your documents together: that includes your Social Insurance Number, banking info, names and addresses of former employees, records of employment, and more.
Technically, filling out the application online should only take about an hour, but evidently most people are spending much more time than that.
And please, for the love of God, don’t make a mistake, otherwise you’ve pretty much lost your chance to get in on EI for good — but yeah, everything’s going to be fine.