Checklist for Initial Application for Employment Insurance (8:App A)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 15, 2022.



A. Advise If Client Has Not Yet Applied for EI:

1. Apply Immediately

  • Apply during the first full week of unemployment when possible.
  • Do not miss your deadline to apply simply because you do not have the ROE. If necessary, apply without the ROE.
  • If the application was not filed in the first week, then the claimant should ask for the claim to be “antedated” to the date it should have been filed. “Good cause” must exist to justify each day it was delayed prior to applying (see Section V: The Benefit Period).

2. Warning

  • Statements made unwittingly over the phone can be used to disqualify the claimant.

3. How Long Does It Take to Process the Application?

  • Generally around four weeks, depending on administrative delay. Benefits can be retroactive if there is an administrative delay.
  • Emergency financial support can be obtained from income assistance: this must be repaid when the client receives EI.

4. Reason for Leaving

a) Did You Leave Voluntarily?

b) Were You Fired?

  • Why was the claimant fired?
  • Was there “misconduct” by the claimant (see Section VII.C.2: Misconduct).
  • The determination of “misconduct” can be appealed to the General Division.

5. Qualifying for EI

a) Availability

Are you available for work?

  • Caring for others may mean you are not available for work. What arrangements for childcare, for instance, have you made when you obtain work?
  • Studying full time will likely mean you are not available for work.
  • Studying part time may also mean you are not considered available for work. You will have to prove availability, i.e. that a course does not interfere with the job search (see Section VII: Benefit Entitlement).
  • You cannot be on vacation.
  • Narrowly restricting your salary expectations, the type of work sought, the work location, or your work schedule can result in a determination that you are not available for work.

b) Capability

Are you capable of working?

c) Unable to Find Suitable Employment

  • Were you offered employment that was unsuitable?
  • Were you offered employment in the same occupation for lower pay, in poorer working conditions?
  • Were you offered employment in a different occupation, but at lower pay in poorer working conditions?

Keep a Job Search Record (see Section IX.A: Job Search Record)

  • Where have you sent resumes? Write down the date, and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of companies contacted.
  • Names of people who you spoke with.
  • What dates did you check the job postings board?
  • Have you participated in any job search clubs?

6. Appeal Any Unfavourable Decision

  • Begin with a request for the unfavourable decision to be reconsidered by the CEIC.
  • If the reconsideration decision is still unfavourable, submit a written application to the General Division of the SST. Appeal applications must be submitted within 30-calendar days of receipt of the reconsideration decision. (see Section XIII: The Social Security Tribunal (SST) Overview)


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