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Can I still apply for Employment Insurance during COVID-19?

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Updated
24, 07-2020

If you became eligible for benefits before March 15, 2020 you should apply for EI. If you became eligible on or after March 15, 2020 you should apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), rather than EI. If you applied for EI on or after March 15th, your EI benefits will automatically be moved over to the CERB program. If you were receiving EI benefits prior to March 15th, then you will continue to be paid EI benefits until the end of your benefit period.

Everyone who qualifies for CERB will get $500 a week for up to 24 weeks. Learn more about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The time you are receiving CERB will essentially pause your EI benefits. This means that if you qualify for 4 months of EI when you start receiving the CERB, you will still have 4 months of EI when the CERB ends. 


The CERB application process opened on April 6, 2020. Service Canada is asking that people stagger their application by birthday, so as to avoid overwhelming the system. Check Canada Emergency Response Benefit to see when your best time to apply is.

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