Employment Insurance

Apprentices registered with the ITA may be eligible for temporary Financial Supports while they attend ITA approved training for their apprenticeship. The Employment Program of British Columbia (EPBC) provides employment services and supports to apprentices and delivers it through a network of WorkBC Employment Services Centres (ESC’s).

Part I Financial Supports also known as Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are typically income replacement and are provided through Service Canada. Any questions and/or concerns regarding EI benefits should be directed to Service Canada.

Part II Financial Supports also known as Employment Program of BC (EPBC) Apprentice Program Financial Supports; are managed by BC’s Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. These supports could include Living Supports for basic living expenses, dependent care, daily commuting etc. More information can be found at WorkBC. Any questions and/or concerns regarding EPBC Apprentice Program Financial Supports should be directed to Service BC at 1 800 663 7867 who would then direct you to the WorkBC Employment Services Centre in your area.

It is important to note that the information provided here only applies to an EI Client who is an ITA Registered Apprentice and is applying for EPBC Apprentice Program Financial Supports online through WorkBC in order to attend the classroom portion of their apprentice training and has:

  • an Employer Sponsor, or
  • a Union Hiring Hall Sponsor, or,
  • an Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) ITA Approved Sponsor, or is
  • a pre-existing ITA Registered Apprentice who:
    • is unemployed and is attached to their Employer Sponsor but does not have a specific return to work date at the time of requesting Financial Supports to attend Classroom Technical Training, or
    • is unemployed and without an Employer Sponsor, but has an active ITA Apprentice Registration at the time of requesting Financial Supports to attend Classroom Technical Training. (Note: The ITA keeps the Apprentice Registration active for 18 months from the date the apprentice loses his/her Employer Sponsor). 

If you do not meet the above-mentioned criteria, you must call Service BC at 1 800 663 7867. They will direct you to the WorkBC Employment Services Centre in your area. You must make an appointment with a WorkBC ESC a minimum of four weeks prior to the start of your course in order to determine if you qualify for EPBC Apprentice Program Financial Supports. You will not be able to apply once you begin your course.

You must apply separately for Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits as soon as you stop working or in the last week of work or you will not be eligible for EPBC Apprentice Program Financial Supports.

Steps involved in applying for temporary Financial Supports

  1. You must apply for EPBC Apprentice Program Financial Supports online  through the WorkBC website at least 4 weeks prior to the start of your course/class.
  2. Create a BCeID as the first step of your online application. Remember your login information.
  3. You will be sent an email within 2-3 days of your application. At this time, log back in to the online portal using your BCeID and view the notification containing your 16 digit EI reference code.
  4. You can now apply for EI through Service Canada. You must apply as soon as you stop working or in your last week of work (even if you don’t have your ROE). Application can be submitted online or in person at your local Service Canada office. Provide your 16 digit EI reference code as directed.

Other important information to bear in mind

  1. Delay in filing an EI claim beyond 4 weeks after the last day of work may cause denial of benefits.
  2. Even if you don’t plan to claim Part II Financial Supports, you must still complete the online application since this is the only way you will be able to generate the EI Reference Code that you will absolutely need in order to apply for EI.
  3. If you lose your 16 digit EI reference code then log back in to the online portal with your BCeID login information and retrieve your reference code.
  4. You must only use the EI Reference Code generated by your application. These codes are time limited and location specific; so you must only use the one that was generated for you otherwise your EI claim may not be successful.
  5. ITA keeps your registration active for 18 months from the date you lose your employer/sponsor.
  6. If you do not meet the criteria for applying through the online portal; then you must call Service BC at 1 800 663 7867. They will direct you to the WorkBC Employment Service Centre in your area.
  7. If you already have an Active EI Claim then do not reapply for EI benefits. If you currently have an active EI claim and will be submitting EI claimant reports to Service Canada in the 2 weeks prior to attending school, you have a Continuing Claim. On your claimant report, you must indicate that you are attending Apprenticeship Training. To ensure there is no interruption in your EI benefits, you must immediately contact Service Canada and provide your 16 digit Apprentice EI Reference code and apprentice training start and end dates.

Who to contact

Any questions and/or concerns regarding EI benefits (i.e. Part I Financial Supports) should be directed to Service Canada

Any questions and/or concerns regarding EPBC Apprentice Program Financial Supports (i.e. Part II Financial Supports) should be directed to Service BC at 1 800 663 7867 and they will direct you to the WorkBC Employment Service Centre in your area.