Chapter 1: Understanding the Record of Employment form

Is this guide for you?

Use this guide if you:

  • are an employer who completes Record of Employment (ROE) forms for your employees;
  • work for a small, medium, or large business or organization and you complete ROEs on behalf of that business or organization; or
  • are a professional, such as an accountant, bookkeeper, or payroll processor, who completes ROEs on behalf of your clients.

Notes

  • This guide contains general information about how to complete the ROE. If you are submitting ROEs on the Web and you need technical information, please consult the help instructions on ROE Web or call the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693 (TTY: 1-855-881-9874).
  • For the most up-to-date information about ROEs, please consult our ROE web pages.

What is an ROE?

The ROE is the form—whether electronic or paper—that employers complete for employees receiving insurable earnings who stop working and experience an interruption of earnings. The ROE is the single most important document in the Employment Insurance (EI) program. Each year, more than 1 million Canadian employers fill out more than 9 million ROE forms for their employees.

You must complete the ROE even if the employee does not intend to apply for EI benefits. On the ROE, you enter details about the employee's work history with your organization, including insurable earnings and insurable hours.

There are two ROE formats available: you can transmit an ROE to us electronically, or you can complete a paper ROE form.

What is an electronic ROE?

An electronic ROE is submitted to Service Canada electronically.

There are three ways to submit ROEs electronically:

  • you can submit ROEs through ROE Web by using compatible payroll software to upload ROEs from your payroll system;
  • you can submit ROEs through ROE Web by manually entering data online through Service Canada's website; and
  • you can submit ROEs through Secure Automated Transfer (SAT), which is performed on your behalf by a payroll service provider using bulk transfer technology.

There are two different types of electronic ROEs, which are identified with serial numbers that start with the following letters:

  • W – ROE Web
  • S – ROE SAT

ROE Web is an efficient, reliable, secure, simple, and easy to use way of issuing an ROE electronically. Using ROE Web, you can create, submit, print, and amend ROEs using the Internet. ROE Web gives you the flexibility to issue ROEs according to your pay cycle.

For more information on ROE Web, visit the Service Canada website or call the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693 (TTY: 1-855-881-9874).

What is a paper ROE?

The paper ROE is a one-page form in triplicate. Triplicate means there are three copies of the ROE—the first one is the original, and the second and third are carbon copies.

Once you complete it, you must distribute the three copies of the paper ROE as follows:

  • Give Part 1 to the employee (the employee will use this copy to apply for EI benefits).
  • Send Part 2—the blue copy—to Service Canada (see Where do I send Part 2 of the paper ROE?).
  • Keep Part 3 for your records.

There are different types of paper ROEs, and each one is identified with serial numbers that start with the following letters:

  • A – English or French (all ROEs in this series have been distributed; although they can no longer be ordered, they are still valid)
  • E – English
  • K – French
  • L – Laser (this format is no longer used; it has been replaced by ROE Web)
  • Z – ROE for fishers (the instructions on how to complete this version of the ROE are different from other ROEs—for details, see How to Complete the Record of Employment Form for Self-Employed Fishers)

What does Service Canada do with the information on the ROE?

At Service Canada, we use the information on the ROE to determine whether a person who has experienced an interruption of earnings is eligible to receive EI benefits, what the benefit amount will be, and how long the person is eligible to receive those benefits. We also use the ROE to ensure that no one misuses EI funds or receives them in error.

In addition, for people living in Quebec, we share ROE information with the Government of Quebec, which administers maternity, paternity, parental, and adoption benefits to residents of that province through a program called the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP).

For these reasons, it is very important that you make sure the information you provide on the ROE is accurate.

What are insurable earnings and insurable hours?

Insurable earnings include most of the different types of compensation you provide to your employees on which EI premiums are paid. While Service Canada determines where insurable earnings are allocated on the ROE, the Canada Revenue Agency determines what types of earnings and hours are insurable. For details, see Annex 1 on types of earnings and insurable hours, or visit the Canada Revenue Agency.

What happens when earnings and hours are not insurable?

In some cases, earnings and hours are not insurable. For example, when an employee does not deal at arm's length with the employer, or when an employee of a corporation controls more than 40% of the corporation's voting shares, the employment is not insurable.

You only need to issue ROEs for employees who receive insurable earnings and who work insurable hours. If you are not sure if an employee's earnings and hours are insurable, contact the Canada Revenue Agency for an insurability ruling. See the section called Enquiries about insurability for information on how to contact the Canada Revenue Agency.

What is an interruption of earnings?

An interruption of earnings occurs in the following situations:

When an employee has had or is anticipated to have seven consecutive calendar days with no work and no insurable earnings from the employer, an interruption of earnings occurs. This situation is called the seven-day rule. For example, the seven-day rule applies when employees quit their jobs or are laid off, or when their employment is terminated (see exceptions in the table below). When the seven-day rule applies, the first day of the interruption of earnings is considered the last day for which paid (see Block 11, Last day for which paid for details).

When an employee's salary falls below 60% of regular weekly earnings because of illness, injury, quarantine, pregnancy, the need to care for a newborn or a child placed for the purposes of adoption, the need to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death, or the need for a parent to care for a critically ill child an interruption of earnings occurs. In this case, the first day of the interruption of earnings is the Sunday of the week in which the salary falls below 60% of the regular weekly earnings.

Example

Julio usually works 40 hours per week in insurable employment, with gross earnings of $1,000. Because he is ill, Julio is only able to work 16 hours per week, and is now making $400 per week (40% of his regular weekly earnings). In this instance, the first week he earns $400 is the week Julio experiences an interruption of earnings. The Sunday of that week is the first day of Julio's interruption of earnings.

Whenever an employee starts receiving wage loss insurance (WLI) payments, an interruption of earnings occurs. For more information, see the What to report on Block 19 chart.

Exceptions to the seven-day rule

The seven-day rule for an interruption of earnings does not apply in the following cases.

Real estate agents: An interruption of earnings occurs only when a real estate agent's licence is surrendered, suspended, or revoked, unless the employee stops working because of illness, injury, quarantine, pregnancy, the need to care for a newborn or a child placed for the purposes of adoption, the need to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death or the need for a parent to care for a critically ill child. In other words, if employees stop working for any other reason, such as a leave of absence or a vacation, they do not experience an interruption of earnings as long as the contract continues. For more information on how to complete ROEs for real estate agents, see Real estate agents in Section 3.

Employees who have non-standard work schedules: Some employers have agreements with their employees for schedules that allow for alternating periods of work and leave. Some employees, like firefighters, health-care workers, and factory workers, have non-standard work schedules. Even though these types of employees do not have scheduled work for seven consecutive days or more, they do not experience an interruption of earnings.

Examples
A firefighter works for four consecutive 24-hour days (96 hours of insurable work) and then has 10 consecutive days off. In this situation, even though the firefighter has no work for more than seven consecutive days, there is no interruption of earnings.

A miner works for 14 consecutive 12-hour days (168 hours of insurable work) and then has seven consecutive days off. In this situation, even though the miner has no work for seven consecutive days, there is no interruption of earnings.

Commission salespeople: For employees whose earnings consist mainly of commissions, an interruption of earnings occurs only when the employment contract is terminated, unless the employee stops working because of illness, injury, quarantine, pregnancy, the need to care for a newborn or a child placed for the purposes of adoption, the need to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death or the need for a parent to care for a critically ill child. In other words, if the employee stops working for any other reason, such as a leave of absence or a vacation, they do not experience an interruption of earnings as long as the contract continues. For more information on how to complete ROEs for commission salespeople, see Commission salespeople in Section 3.

When do I have to issue an ROE?

Regardless of whether the employee intends to file a claim for EI benefits, you have to issue an ROE:

  • each time an employee experiences an interruption of earnings; or
  • when Service Canada requests one.

Notes

  • You should only issue ROEs according to the instructions provided by Service Canada.
  • In a situation where an employer has to lay off a large number of employees, such as when a plant is closing, Service Canada is available to provide you with advice on issuing ROEs. For more information, call the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693 (TTY: 1-855-881-9874)

Special situations involving when to issue ROEs

When Service Canada requests an ROE: The most common situation in which we would ask you to issue an ROE occurs when an employee is working two jobs and experiences an interruption of earnings in one of them. If this happens and the employee submits an application for EI benefits, we need an ROE from the current employer, even though the employee is still working there. We use the information on both ROEs to calculate the benefit amount and the number of weeks of EI benefits the claimant should receive.

When the pay period type changes: When your business or organization changes its pay period type, you must issue ROEs for all employees, even though the employees are not experiencing an interruption of earnings. For details, see the note under Block 6, Pay period type.

When an employee stays with the employer but is transferred to another Canada Revenue Agency Payroll Account Number: If you have more than one Payroll Account Number (see Block 5, CRA business Number for details) and an employee's payroll file is transferred to a different Payroll Account Number within the organization, an ROE is not required if:

  • there has been no actual break in the employee receiving earnings during the transfer; and
  • you agree to issue a single ROE that covers both periods of employment if the need arises.

Note

If the change in CRA Payroll Account Number involves a change in pay period type, you must issue an ROE for the employee.

When there is a change in ownership: When a business changes ownership, the former employer usually has to issue ROEs to all employees. However, if the following two conditions apply, you do not have to issue ROEs:

  • there has been no actual break in the employee receiving earnings during the change-over; and
  • the former employer's payroll records are available to the new employer, and the new employer agrees to issue a single ROE that covers both periods of employment, if the need arises.

Note

If the change in ownership involves a change in pay period type, you must issue ROEs for all employees.

When an employer declares bankruptcy: When an employer declares bankruptcy and a receiver takes over the operation of the business, the employer usually has to issue ROEs to all employees. However, if the following two conditions apply, you do not have to issue ROEs:

  • there has been no actual break in the employee receiving earnings during the change-over; and
  • the employer's payroll records are available to the receiver, and the receiver agrees to issue a single ROE that covers both periods of employment, if the need arises.

Note

If employees continue to work for an employer after the bankruptcy, the interruption of earnings does not occur until the employees actually stop working, even if they do not receive any earnings.

For part-time, on-call, or casual workers: You do not have to issue an ROE every time a part-time, on-call, or casual worker experiences an interruption of earnings of seven days or more. However, you must issue one when:

  • an employee requests an ROE and an interruption of earnings has occurred;
  • an employee is no longer on the employer's active employment list;
  • Service Canada requests an ROE; or
  • an employee has not done any work or earned any insurable earnings for 30 days.

For wage-loss insurance (WLI) plan payments: When you offer your employees a wage-loss insurance (WLI) plan:

  • if the plan payments are not insurable, issue an ROE when the interruption of earnings occurs; or
  • if the plan payments are insurable, issue an ROE when the interruption of earnings occurs, and issue a second ROE for the period of the insurable WLI payments, after they stop.

During self-funded leave: In some workplaces, employees can make agreements with their employer to take self-funded leave. Under these agreements, employees work and defer a portion of their salary for a certain period of time to finance a later period of leave. For example, an employee may work for four years, deferring 20% of his or her salary during those four years to finance leave during the fifth year. During self-funded leave, an interruption of earnings does not occur, so you do not have to complete an ROE unless either party breaks the agreement. If the agreement is broken by either party during the self-funded leave and the employee will not be returning to work, you must then issue an ROE. In Block 11, Last day for which paid, enter the date of the last day the employee worked before leaving on self-funded leave.

Note

Contact the Canada Revenue Agency for instructions on how to deduct EI premiums on earnings during both the deferral and self-funded leave periods.

Note

If you use a Payroll Service Providers (PSP): While it is not a requirement to issue ROEs if you change PSPs, if the new PSP is not be able to issue ROEs for the period of employment covered by your previous PSP, the previous PSP can issue them up to the time that the new PSP takes over.

What is my deadline for issuing an ROE?

If you issue ROEs on paper

If you issue ROEs on paper, you must issue an ROE within five calendar days of:

  • the first day of an interruption of earnings; or
  • the day the employer becomes aware of an interruption of earnings.

Note

If you issue paper ROEs, you must give Part 1 (the original) to your employees. Please let your employees know that they must submit the paper ROE to Service Canada if they are applying for EI benefits. They must either mail us the original copies of their paper ROEs or drop them off in person at a Service Canada Centre. The mailing address will be provided to them on the Information and Confirmation page once they submit their online application for EI benefits.

If you issue ROEs electronically

If you issue ROEs electronically and your pay period is weekly, biweekly (every two weeks), or semi-monthly (twice a month, usually the fifteenth and last day of the month), you have up to five calendar days after the end of the pay period in which an employee's interruption of earnings occurs to issue an electronic ROE.

If you have a monthly pay period or 13 pay periods per year (every four weeks), you must issue electronic ROEs by whichever date is earlier:

  • five calendar days after the end of the pay period in which an employee experiences an interruption of earnings; or
  • 15 calendar days after the first day of an interruption of earnings.

Note

If you issue electronic ROEs, you no longer need to provide a paper copy to your employees (see the section, Do I still have to give a copy of electronic ROEs to employees?, for details).

The deadline for submitting an electronic ROE is based on the pay period type and the day on which the interruption of earnings occurred.

Examples of deadlines for submitting an electronic ROE

Pay period type Deadline Example
Weekly If you have a weekly pay period cycle, you must submit the electronic ROE to Service Canada no later than five calendar days after the end of the pay period in which the interruption of earnings occurs. Martin stops working on March 1, 2010, which is the first day of the interruption of earnings. You have a weekly pay period that runs from February 27, 2010, to March 5, 2010. Since the pay period that contains the interruption of earnings will end on March 5, 2010, you must issue Martin's ROE no later than March 10, 2010.
Biweekly If you have a biweekly pay period cycle, you must submit the electronic ROE to Service Canada no later than five calendar days after the end of the pay period in which the interruption of earnings occurs. Ginette stops working on March 1, 2010, which is the first day of the interruption of earnings. You have a biweekly pay period that runs from February 27, 2010, to March 12, 2010. Since the pay period that contains the interruption of earnings will end on March 12, 2010, you must issue Ginette's ROE no later than March 17, 2010.
Semi-monthly If you have a semi-monthly pay period cycle, you must submit the electronic ROE to Service Canada no later than five calendar days after the end of the pay period in which the interruption of earnings occurs. Safina stops working on March 1, 2010, which is the first day of the interruption of earnings. You have a semi-monthly pay period that runs from March 1, 2010, to March 15, 2010. Since the pay period that contains the interruption of earnings will end on March 15, 2010, you must issue Safina's ROE no later than March 20, 2010.
Monthly If you have a monthly pay period cycle, you must submit the electronic ROE to Service Canada by whichever date is earlier:
  • five calendar days after the end of the pay period in which the interruption of earnings occurs; or
  • 15 calendar days after the first day of the interruption of earnings
Example 1

Peter stops working on March 1, 2010, which is the first day of the interruption of earnings.

You have a monthly pay period that runs from March 1, 2010, to March 31, 2010.

For a monthly pay period, the ROE must be issued by whichever date is earlier:

  • five calendar days after the end of the pay period that contains the interruption of earnings (April 5, 2010); or
  • 15 calendar days after the first day of the interruption of earnings (March 16, 2010).
In this case, you must issue Peter's ROE no later than March 16, 2010, since that is the earlier of the two dates.
Example 2

Martha stops working on March 30, 2010, which is the first day of the interruption of earnings. You have a monthly pay period that runs from March 1, 2010, to March 31, 2010.

For a monthly pay period, the ROE must be issued by whichever date is earlier:

  • five calendar days after the end of the pay period that contains the interruption of earnings (April 5, 2010); or
  • 15 calendar days after the first day of the interruption of earnings (April 14, 2010).

In this case, you must issue Martha's ROE no later than April 5, 2010, since that is the earlier of the two dates.

Thirteen pay-periods (every four weeks) If you have a 13 pay period cycle (you pay employees every four weeks), you must submit the electronic ROE to Service Canada by whichever date is earlier:
  • five calendar days after the end of the pay period in which the interruption of earnings occurs; or
  • 15 calendar days after the first day of the interruption of earnings
Example 1

Roberto stops working on March 1, 2010, which is the first day of the interruption of earnings. You have a 13 pay period cycle, which ends every fourth Sunday. The pay period that contains the interruption of earnings runs from March 1, 2010, to March 28, 2010.

For this type of pay period cycle, you must issue the ROE by whichever date is earlier:

  • five calendar days after the end of the pay period that contains the interruption of earnings (April 2, 2010); or
  • 15 calendar days after the first day of the interruption of earnings (March 16, 2010).
In this case, you must submit Roberto's ROE no later than March 16, 2010, since that is the earlier of the two dates.
Example 2

Juliette stops working on March 23, 2010, which is the first day of the interruption of earnings. You have a pay period that runs from March 1, 2010, to March 28, 2010.

For this type of pay period cycle, you must issue the ROE by whichever date is earlier:

  • five calendar days after the end of the pay period that contains the interruption of earnings (April 2, 2010); or
  • 15 calendar days after the first day of the interruption of earnings (April 7, 2010).
In this case, you must submit Juliette's ROE no later than April 2, 2010, since that is the earlier of the two dates.

Do I still have to give a copy of electronic ROEs to employees?

No. If you submit ROEs electronically, you no longer need to print a paper copy for your employees. When you submit ROEs electronically, the data is transmitted directly to Service Canada's database, where it is used to process EI claims.

Notes

  • Make sure your employees are aware that you will be submitting their ROEs to Service Canada electronically, so therefore they should not submit copies to Service Canada.
  • Employees who have registered with the My Service Canada Account online service can view and print copies of their electronic ROEs. To learn more about My Service Canada Account, employees should visit our website.
  • Although you are no longer required to print paper copies of ROEs if you submit them electronically, we recommend that, if they request them, you provide your employees with copies as a courtesy. However, be sure to remind employees that they should not deliver these paper copies to a Service Canada office.
  • Inform your employees that, if they plan to apply for EI benefits, they should submit their EI applications as soon as they experience an interruption of earnings—even if they have not received all their ROEs (specifically those ROEs issued on paper).

If you need more information about submitting ROEs electronically, visit Record of Employment on the Web or call the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693 (TTY: 1-855-881-9874)

How long do I have to keep payroll records related to ROEs?

Regardless of whether you issue ROEs electronically or on paper, you have to store all related payroll records—in electronic or paper format—for six years after the year to which the information relates.

Do I have to store paper copies of the ROE?

If you issue paper ROEs, you must store Part 3 of all completed paper ROEs for six years after the year to which the information relates. Be sure to store them in a secure place—once you complete the ROE, the information it contains is considered confidential.

If you issue ROEs electronically, you do not have to store paper copies of them, but you must ensure you save the data for six years after the year to which the information relates.

Where do I send Part 2 of the paper ROE?

Send Part 2 (the blue copy) of all completed paper ROEs to Service Canada's ROE centre in Bathurst, New Brunswick. The address of the centre is:

Service Canada
P.O. Box 9000
Bathurst, New Brunswick E2A 4T3

The Bathurst ROE centre does not handle any other ROE- or EI-related business. For this reason, you should only use the above address to send Part 2 of the ROE. You must send all other ROE-related documents and all ROE-related correspondence to your local Service Canada Centre.

Note

If you issue ROEs electronically, you do not have to send paper copies to Service Canada.

Where do I send other ROE-related documents or correspondence?

If you have ROE-related documents or correspondence, send them to your local Service Canada Centre. The only document you should send to the ROE centre in Bathurst, New Brunswick, is Part 2 (the blue copy) of the paper ROE.

Can I make changes to a paper ROE after I’ve completed it?

Yes. You can make changes to a completed paper ROE, as long as you still have all three copies. If you still have all three copies of a paper ROE, make changes by:

  • striking out the incorrect information by drawing a line through it;
  • inserting the correct information; and
  • initialing the change.

Note

Never use white-out.

If you have already distributed copies of the paper ROE, you cannot change it. In this case, you have to issue an amended ROE to make changes. See When do I have to issue an amended ROE? for details.

Can I cancel an ROE?

No. You cannot cancel an ROE that you have already issued. If you issued an ROE in error, you have to issue an amended ROE. On the amended ROE, you would indicate in Block 18 that the original ROE was issued in error. See the next section for details.

When do I have to issue an amended ROE?

You must issue an amended ROE in the following situations:

  • Issue an amended ROE when you need to change, correct, or update the information you entered on an ROE you issued previously.

Example
After you issue the original ROE, your employee's departure changes from not final to final and the employee has not worked since you issued the original ROE. Because the departure is now final, you have to pay additional money to the employee on separation because you owe the employee for vacation pay. In this case, you would issue an amended ROE of the original to include this information. If there is no new information to report, you do not need to issue an amended ROE.

Note

If you have an employee on leave that has been issued an ROE, and prior to coming back to work they inform you that they are not returning, you are not required to amend the original ROE provided you are not making any additional payments to the employee because of the permanent separation

  • Issue an amended ROE if you submitted one to Service Canada in error. When you complete the amended ROE, enter "Previous ROE issued in error" in Block 18, Comments.
  • Issue an amended ROE when Service Canada asks you to do so.

Note

When amending an ROE, complete all of the blocks on the amended ROE, not just the blocks where information has changed from the original ROE.

How do I issue an amended ROE electronically?

For information on how to issue an amended ROE electronically:

  • if you are using ROE Web, consult the online help instructions within the ROE Web application or call the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693 (TTY: 1-855-881-9874); or
  • if you are using ROE SAT, contact your payroll service provider.

Note

If you are amending a paper ROE electronically, enter "Amending a paper ROE" in Block 18, Comments, and include the serial number of the original paper ROE.

How do I issue an amended ROE using a paper form?

Follow these instructions to issue an amended ROE using a paper form:

  • Use a blank paper ROE form.
  • In Block 2, enter the serial number of the original ROE you are correcting.
  • Be sure to complete all the blocks, even if the information is the same as what you entered on the original ROE.
  • Correct any information that was wrong on the original ROE.

Note

When amending an ROE using a paper form, it is not necessary to enter a comment in Block 18 indicating that it is an amended ROE.

What should I do with void or surplus paper ROEs?

If you have void paper ROEs (for example, you may void a form if you have made errors on it), you can destroy the forms. If you do so, before you destroy them, be sure to write down the serial numbers and keep them with your payroll records.

If you have surplus paper ROEs, please call the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693 (TTY: 1-855-881-9874) for instructions on how to return them.

How do I order paper ROE forms?

To order paper ROE forms, call the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693 (TTY: 1-855-881-9874). When placing your order, please have your Canada Revenue Agency Payroll Account Number ready for identification purposes.

What if I need more information?

If you need details or advices while completing your ROEs, please call the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693 (TTY: 1-855-881-9874).

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