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ALERT: Employment Insurance COVID-19


A dedicated phone line has been established for inquiries regarding EI claims related to COVID-19.

Questions related to EI and COVID-19 can be directed to this line for assistance and information:


This is a dedicated line for those looking to apply for EI benefits because:

1. you have had to self-isolate and cannot work,
2. you are an employee or employer looking to apply for financial support through the EI Work-sharing program, or
3. you have been laid off due to COVID-19.

If someone is sick, quarantined or “laid off” due to forced shutdown:

Employees-apply for Sick Benefits. There is no option on the application to stipulate “Due to Coronavirus” so applicants must call after applying to give this information, otherwise the waiting period will not be waived and they will be expected to provide a medical or they will not receive benefits. The department acknowledges that the phone lines are extremely busy but, since in-person visits to Service Canada are strongly discouraged, applicants are encouraged to continue to try to get through on the phone lines as soon after applying as possible. Phone calls should be made within a reasonable period of time (a day or two).
Employers-report “other” on ROE as reason for separation and record in comments section “Due to Coronavirus/Public Health Mandate”

In cases of lay-off due to a shortage of work because of Coronavirus:
Employees-apply for regular benefits due to layoff. Regular Benefits criteria still apply.
Employers-report layoff due to shortage of work

If an applicant has filed a claim within the last 52 weeks, they will still need to reapply for Sick Benefits.

Unfortunately, at this point, there are no exceptions to the qualifying hours criteria which is currently 600 hours for special benefits.