KITCHENER -- As the COVID-19 pandemic expands businesses are being ordered to close and major companies are announcing layoffs almost daily.

This has many Canadians looking for help in the form of employment insurance (EI), but some are running into problems when trying to apply.

“I'm unable to get through on my phone, the information is inaccurate online, and the office is closed,” said Lindsay Harding, a resident that is seeking EI,

However, there are resources available in the community to help guide people through the process,

“If anyone wants me to help them navigate through an application, I can do that,” said Joanna Woo, a certified human resources leader.

Woo says many people are applying for the new sickness benefit, and if you're sick or quarantined due to COVID-19, you're eligible.

"You can immediately apply for the EI sickness benefit and there's no waiting period for it right now."

But if you're not sick or quarantined, it can be a confusing process.

“I just don't know what to do,” said Eni Buiron, who is self-employed.

“Right now there's a lot of confusion around which type of benefit to apply for,” explained Woo.

The emergency care benefit will be available starting in April and it is open for those who are self-employed, who are either sick themselves or taking care of someone who is sick.

It will also apply to parents with kids requiring care because school or day care is closed, and they can't go to work.

But not everyone might meet the criteria.

“All the eligibility requirements are online and it is different, depending on what your personal situation is,” said Woo.

For those looking to apply for EI online:

These are the five steps to follow.

  1. Gathering your documents with your personal information....
  2. Apply online
  3. Provide the documents
  4. Wait for an access code
  5. Review your application status

Another thing to keep in mind is you will be given a temporary password at the beginning of your application. You can return at any point to continue your application as long as you have that temporary password. It just needs to be completed within 72 hours

Woo says the process can be daunting, but should be doable and help is available.