Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Application — Step by Step Instructions
(Please review this post before starting your application!)


Start your CERB Application
(You will be re-directed to CRA Account at

What should you do when you stopped working?

  1. Apply right after the day you stopped working at Do not wait for your Record of Employment (ROE). Application secures your benefit starting week. ROE is a supporting document for processing office only. (What if I receive severance package?) Employment Insurance benefits can only be applied online. Do not visit your local Service Canada centre. They are not an EI application office. If you visit, they will just tell you to use their public computer to apply through the same public network. You claim will not be process faster if you go to the local office. You may apply using your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. If you don’t have internet connection, you may go into a mall to use their free public wifi to apply online.
  2. Your first payment will not be paid immediately because of the 28 days processing time. Therefore, plan yourself financially ahead for at least 1 month.
  3. Start completing your EI weekly report once you received your Access Code letter by mail from Service Canada. You should receive it within 1-2 weeks after your application date.
  4. Register your Service Canada information account (My Service Canada Account) to keep track of the processing update.
  5. Call EI call centre if no update after 28 days from the day you apply. There phone number is 1-800-206-7218, learn how to call EI call centre.

* * * COVID-19 Update * * *

Which EI benefits should I choose?

If you have been laid off due to the 2 weeks business closing, you have to choose Regular benefits category. Regardless if your business is closed due to COVID-19, since you are ask to stay home to wait for your work to call you back, you are entitled to regular benefits.

If you were asked to Quarantine due to COVID-19 illness, you have to apply for Sickness benefits. The 1 week waiting period waiver only applies if your sickness claim is related to COVID19, if not, you are still subject to the waiting period.

How to answer EI application questionnaire?

The trick is to answer those questions that applies to your situation only. Don’t over think. Answer no for those question that doesn’t applies to you (e.g: Reference Code, Pension, training,etc)
You don’t need to answer those questions without the red asterisk, just leave it blank and move on. Make sure to put the right address and telephone as EI processing may call you for questions.

Click here to learn about EI application step by step instructions

Things to remember when applying for your EI benefit

  1. Your Record of Employment (ROE) is given by your former employer upon your separation from work. Currently, there are 2 types of ROE. Either it is the electronically generated (with serial number code starting with “W’ or “S”) or hand written (with serial number “E” or others). If your ROE is electronically generated, that means your employer has submitted the soft copy unto Service Canada, which you can print your PDF copy through My Service Canada Account. If it written copy, make sure to submit your original copy ASAP to the nearest Service Canada centre for transcription. A delay in submitting your ROE maybe delay the processing time of your EI application.
  2. Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) is needed for your application. If your SIN is 900 series and you hold a work permit(s), make sure to submit your original copy of all your work permit(s) at Service Canada centre to prove your eligibility to work in Canada.
  3. Medical Certificate. If you are applying for sickness benefits and your ROE shows code “D” (illness) as reason for seperation, you don’t have to submit your doctor’s note. Keep a copy of your doctor’s note for at least 6 years in case of an audit request by Service Canada integrity office.

There may be other forms to submit depending on the type of benefit you are applying. Please visit Service Canada website for more details

=> Launch your Employment Insurance application <=
(You will be redirect to Service Canada EI application website)

What happens after I finish my EI application

Once you have completed your online EI application, you will be able to print a Confirmation page for your own reference. To follow-up on the status of your EI claim, you will have to provide your SIN to Service Canada call centre agents to track your file or by visiting My Service Canada Account through website.

You may drop off your supporting documents (e.g. carbon paper ROE, medical note, Work Permit, etc.) to your local Service Canada Centre or mail your documents to the appropriate EI processing mailing address. Click here for the EI mailing addresses.


The local Service Canada centres are not an EI processing office. They are a receiving office only. The agents at the local offices do not process EI claim.
Their role is to forward any supporting documents to EI processing office. They will not be able to help you follow up with your claim.

You must call EI call centre for follow up.


It says the processing time is up to 28 days (4 weeks). Which means you will not receive your EI payment after roughly a month later! If your claim is fairly simple, you should see your claim finalized within 2 weeks. If it requires many clarification or has missing documentations, it will go up or beyond 28 days processing time. If after 28 days and you still have not received any answer, you may call back Service Canada EI telephone inquiry line (1-800-206-7218) to request a follow up. Note: neither agents from call centre or service centre are EI processing agent. They only act as messenger to help you chase after the status of your claim.

If you have extra documents to submit to EI processing office, you may either mail them to the designated address listed on their website (EI mailing address) or by dropping off the document at your local Service Canada centre for them to forward the document to EI processing office free of charge.

Extra Read: Latest EI claim processing time.

You will receive an Access Code letter, by mail, from Service Canada within 1-2 week after the date of your application. It gives you instruction what to do next about your EI claim. (Read more)

You can also register your EI online account through Service Canada website. It’s all long and painful registration process, but it’s all worth it because you can change/add your direct deposit info, address and view status of your claim online.

If you have financial concern while waiting for your EI payment. You will have to visit your local provincial or municipal social service centre for immediate financial assistance. (Read more)


=> Launch your Employment Insurance application <=
(You will be redirect to Service Canada EI application website)

You may visit for more details.


You may find other interesting topics such as:

How to file EI online application due to COVID-19?

How to complete your COVID-19 Regular EI report and clear pending report?

What is the latest EI claim processing wait time?

How much EI will I receive?

How to call EI call centre from outside of Canada?