Apply to continue receiving Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits while attending training: Fast Forward Program
You can apply to continue receiving Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits while attending training at an approved training institution. You need to have an active claim for EI regular benefits (or have already applied to Service Canada for EI regular benefits).
Apply to continue receiving EI regular benefits from Service Canada while attending training at an approved training institution.
Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work or seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work but can't find a job.
Usually, if you’re receiving EI regular benefits you need to be available to work and can’t attend training. The Fast Forward Program lets people continue receiving EI regular benefits while attending training to improve their skills during periods of unemployment.
You need to have an active claim for EI regular benefits (or have already applied to Service Canada for EI regular benefits) before you apply for the Fast Forward Program. Service Canada determines if you’re eligible for EI regular benefits.
The program doesn’t fund your training (you need to fund the training yourself). The program allows you to continue collecting EI regular benefits while you participate in a training program. You can continue to receive EI regular benefits for as long as your claim has payable weeks remaining. The program doesn’t extend how long you can collect EI regular benefits.
To apply for the Fast Forward Program, you need to meet all of the following criteria:
- you have an active claim for EI regular benefits or have applied to Service Canada for EI regular benefits
- you’re a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident who is allowed to work in Canada
- you’re a resident of Nova Scotia
- you’re unemployed
- you’ve been accepted into an eligible training program
- you can pay for the full duration of your training (like tuition, books and living expenses)
- you have been fully participating in the labour market for at least 24 months before you apply (this is known as labour force attachment)
You may not be eligible for EI regular benefits if you quit your job to return to school. If you’re not eligible for EI regular benefits, you’re not eligible for the Fast Forward Program. For more information about EI regular benefits, contact Service Canada.
You can apply before or after the start date of your training program.
If you apply after the start date of your training program, you need to:
- submit your application no more than 60 days after the start date of your current term or semester
- submit your application before the end date of your training program
Your application won’t be considered if it’s received more than 60 days after the start date of your training program or after the end date of your training program.
The date you apply for the Fast Forward Program helps Service Canada determine when you can continue receiving EI regular benefits.
Eligible training programs
Training programs are eligible if they are:
- supported by labour market information that shows that there are job prospects in the field
- academic upgrading, literacy, numeracy, English or French as a second language, skills training for specific occupations or a university degree program
- at least 5 days long (possible exceptions for courses of less than 5 days if the training is more than 10 hours and includes full days of training in a row)
- delivered by an approved training institution
Approved training institutions
An approved training institution is a registered training institution under the Private Career Colleges regulations or a training institution that’s not required to register under the regulations (like universities and NSCC).
Fully participating in the labour market (labour force attachment)
Fully participating in the labour market means that you were doing at least 1 (or a combination) of the following for 24 months before you apply:
- actively looking for full-time work
- working full-time
- working part-time while actively looking for full-time work
- working as a self-employed person
The 24 months doesn’t need to be continuous (you can have breaks). You need to have at least 24 months in total throughout your employment history.
When calculating your 24 months, don’t count any time that you were:
- collecting maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care or family caregiver leave benefits
- not actively looking for full-time work while unemployed
- enrolled in an educational institution full-time (including periods of summer employment or part-time employment while enrolled)
How to apply
- Apply online.
- Check the application for details on all required supporting documents.
- Submit your completed application and supporting documents.
How long it takes
It should take 1 week for Employment Nova Scotia to let you know that they’ve received your application and are reviewing it. It can take longer if more information is needed or if your application hasn’t been filled in correctly.
There is no cost to apply.
Before you start
Make sure you:
- confirm that you have an active claim for EI regular benefits or have applied to Service Canada for EI regular benefits
- develop a plan to return to school full-time to upgrade your education or employment skills
- know your employment goals
- know how the new skills and knowledge from the training program will help you find employment
- have a financial plan that covers the costs of your training, including when your EI claim ends
- have a resume if your training is 5 days or longer
- have an acceptance letter from the training institution
When you apply online you need to create an account or sign in. You also need to upload any supporting documents.
You can contact Employment Nova Scotia if you’re unable to apply online.