What to do if You’ve Lost Your Job

Whether you just lost your job or you feel that a job loss is coming up, these steps will show you how to react and how to prepare.

  1. In the First Hours

    Depending on your situation, losing a job can be traumatic. Especially when it has happened because of COVID-19, a situation completely out of your control. Work through our emotional tool box, linked here. Choose the steps that speak most to your feelings right now. 

    You may be angry, but take time to reflect before responding out of emotion. If your reaction is valid and the right choice, it will still be true tomorrow. However, if you act without reflection, you may do or say something you regret. Time is on your side.

  2. Return Materials and Get Your Documents

    Within the first 24 hours, if you haven’t already done so, return any phones, laptops, confidential information, supplies, uniforms or anything that should not remain in your possession. If your termination happened unexpectedly, it is possible to ask if it’s appropriate to review files, tie up loose ends and make notes of your achievements and duties. Depending on your employer and industry, this may be possible.

     Get your Record of Employment (ROE) as soon as possible, it will be helpful for your EI application.

  3. Keep Records

    Have you been offered a severance agreement? Don’t feel pressured to sign it without review, especially if you don’t understand it. 

    Take notes on the situation, your experience working, contacts you would like to keep in touch with and any situations you feel the need to recall. This includes:

    • Key contacts for future mentorship, references, and networking

    • Key initiatives, projects, successes etc…

    • Any conflicts or complaints (and your view of them)

    • Notes that would be relevant to an exit interview

    • The circumstances of your termination. This may be helpful in the event you have to seek severance or if you later need to prove the case behind your dismissal

  4. Apply for EI and Other Benefits

    Check out our resource to help you identify benefits you’re eligible for

    Be sure to create your MyCRA and MyService Canada accounts now and include your direct deposit information. These processes take a few days and having these accounts set up means you will be paid faster.

    • Click here for the full details. Remember, you can apply for EI before your last day of work, and you need to be not working/earning before you can make a claim. So start the application process now!

    You will need your Record of Employment (ROE) if you have it and SIN as well as a record of places you’ve worked and contacts of those locations.

  5. Not Sure if Your Employer Terminated You Legally?

    The employment laws are controlled primarily by provincial bodies, yet there are federal policies too. They are confusing and changing due to COVID-19. That being said, if you feel you were wrongfully dismissed, review these links to learn more

  6. Gain Control of Your Finances

    The primary stress from losing employment usually comes from the worry of how to pay your bills. In order to reduce your stress, it’s best to follow a plan that will get you on track and show you how to reorder your money to accommodate this new life event.

    You need answers to questions like: 

    • How much does my life cost me per month right now

    • Do I have emergency funds? If not, what should I do next?

    • What should I do about my investments?

    • How do I stop mortgage payments or rent payments?

    • How long can I survive like this?

    • Who is on my financial team and how can they support me?

    Task: Work through the Financial Overhaul checklist with your family and come up with a new budget

  7. Evaluating Severance Pay

    Severance is the payment that an employer is required to give in certain circumstances based on how you were dismissed.Do you deserve severance? It depends. Click here to learn more. 

    Also be sure to look at the terms in your employment contract. What does it say about your rights to severance?

    If you got severance pay, take a look at your severance agreement that you were offered, if you have one. Ask yourself:

    • How much pay are you being offered?

    • Do they provide health benefits and/or options to switch over? What are the deadlines on this?

    • What are the terms you need to agree to in order to receive the pay and benefits?

    • Are they providing services to help with a future job search?

    • Don’t feel pressured to sign, you can have an attorney review it if something feels unclear. 

    • Know the due date on the agreement offer. If it doesn’t, ask about it and feel free to request more time if you need it and provide reasons why. 

  8. Health Insurance

    Do you still have health coverage? This may be the case in a temporary lay off or if your employer is allowing you to retain benefits for a transitional period of time.

    Questions to consider:

    • How long are you given access before they cut off?

    • Can you be added to your spouse’s health benefits?

    • How do you find other health benefit options if you are no longer covered?

    • Can your employer group plan if it can be “ported” over to a plan that you pay for? Most big groups have this option and it will allow you coverage without medical questions in most cases.

    • Will a health spending account suit your needs and save you money?

    Here is a resource that evaluates all of the health insurance options.

  9. Finding Work

    There is a long term and short term way to view your income.

    In the short term, identify the areas where you may be able to earn income. These include government benefits (like EI and the new CERB) as per step 4.

    Get a side hustle – what kind of work can you do in this time for some additional income? Check out our ultimate guide to building a solid side hustle to build your income up

    In the long term, this is an opportunity to review your career path. Check out our resources linked below to help you with this.

  10. Learn From Others

    Check out this case about a family that lost their job.

    How an RRSP helped a family get back on track after job loss

  11. Get a Side HustleClick here to check out our side hustle guide. We cover:

    Side Hustle 101 – learn the definition of a side hustle, whether it’s for you, and the different types of side hustles out there.

    How to Choose Your Side Hustle – Access our list of 150 real side hustle ideas and a step-by-step guide on choosing the one that’s right for your lifestyle and expectations 

    Staying Sane – Discover practical advice on protecting your relationships and your mental and physical health.

    How Much Money Will I Need to Start – Master the MVP technique and learn the basics of building a lean side hustle.. 

    How to Get That Money – The ultimate guide to funding your new venture. Whether you are looking to raise $10 or $10,000,000, we will teach you how.

    How to Protect Yourself and Your Side Hustle – Understand the risks involved in running a side hustle and how to build your defenses.

    Side Hustle Taxes 101 – Discover powerful strategies to ensure you keep more of the hard-earned money your side hustle brings. 

    Apps and Tech to Make Life Easy – Proven apps and tech to help you build your business, win your first customers, protect your new venture and navigate the day-to-day like a pro

    Business Plan Basics – Learn how to create your very own business plan to prepare for your business growth.

    Growing Your Side Hustle – Learn how to go deep into analytics to measure the success of your side hustle.

    Failed? Accept. Reflect. Rinse. Repeat – It’s OK to fail. As a matter of fact, it is necessary to fail and fail fast.