How to Apply for Financial Supports for Apprenticeships


Please note that this article appears on our website at and it will be henceforth updated at that location.

There are four steps for applying for Apprentice Financial Supports:

  1. Complete Apprentice Online Portal (AOP) Application
    You must apply in the Apprentice Online Portal prior to your school start date to receive funding. Ideally this step should be completed 4 weeks before the start of your class.
  2. Create Basic BCeID Account
    The first step of your application will ask you to create an online account with the provincial government called a Basic BCeID; remember your login information, you will need it for the next step!
  3. Obtain EI Reference Code
    2-3 business days after you submit your application, you will receive an email advising you to log into your BCeID account to View the Notification containing your EI Reference Code (log in at by clicking on the Continue button; for instructions on viewing your Notification go to same website and click on the link below the Start button that says “For instructions on how to retrieve your EI Reference Code click here”).
  4. Apply for Employment Insurance
    Once you have your reference code, you will apply for regular EI through Service Canada or in-person at your local Service Canada office); provide your 16-digit EI Reference Code as directed.

You must complete all of these steps, in the order provided, to successfully apply for Apprentice Financial Supports and EI while attending school!

FAQs About Apprentice Financial Supports

Q: Why do I need to apply in the Apprentice Online Portal (AOP)?
A: There are two essential reasons why you must apply in the AOP:

  1. The AOP is where you apply for your provincial benefits including commuting, dependent care, disability, living away from home, and travel benefits. This is the only way to apply for and receive these benefits, and these are in addition to the Federal EI money you may receive; you may be eligible for these benefits even if you are not eligible for EI.
  2. Your application in the AOP generates the EI Reference Code that you will need to apply for Employment Insurance; this code is absolutely necessary to be able to receive EI while you attend school, since students attending full-time school are normally not eligible for EI.
    It is very important that you only use the EI Reference Code generated by your application—EI Reference Codes are time-limited and location-specific so you must use the correct one for you or your EI claim may not be successful!

Q: What does the term “Sponsor” mean?
A: The term “Sponsor” refers to an employer or union sponsor who is guaranteeing you a job when you finish school. This may mean you have a job until school starts, then you will receive a temporary lay-off to attend school, and then return to work for the same employer. It may also mean that you are a member of a union that will provide you with work when you finish your course. It does not mean that you have someone paying for your course; even if you are paying for your own education, as long as you have a job guaranteed when you finish school, you have a “Sponsor”.
If you do not have an employer/union sponsor, contact your local WorkBC office as soon as possible; use the interactive map at to find the office nearest you. If you do not have a sponsor you must go through an alternate application process.

Q: How do I get my EI Reference Code?
A: Your EI Reference Code is generated by your application in the Apprentice Online Portal (AOP). You must complete the following steps to obtain your code:

  1. Complete the Apprentice Online Portal application prior to your course start date
  2. Wait 2-3 business days to receive the email notification to log back into your BCeID account
  3. Log into your BCeID account by clicking the Continue button at
  4. Click on the View button to see the Notification containing your EI reference code

If you have completed the application more than 3 days ago and you are having difficulty finding your code, please go to and click on the link below the Start button that says “For instructions on how to retrieve your EI Reference Code click here”).

Q: Why does my “Application Status” say Preapproved when I am already accepted by BCIT/already in class?
A: Your application will stay in Preapproved status until approximately one week after you have started school. About one week after your start date, the school will confirm you are attending and then your application will move into “ICM” status.

Q: Why does my Application Status say “ICM”? Does this mean “Incomplete”?
A: The status “ICM” is actually a good thing! This means that your attendance has been confirmed by your school and that your application has now been accepted into the province’s database, which is called the “Integrated Case Management” system or “ICM”. At this point your funding eligibility will be reviewed by Service Canada and the Province of BC.

Q: I received an email that my AOP application status is “Closed” because my attendance has not been confirmed by my school, but I have been attending the whole time. What’s wrong?
A: There can be two main reasons why this might happen:

  1. If you select the wrong course title when you complete your application, your attendance might not be marked with the rest of your class.
  2. If you enter your first name and last name incorrectly or in reverse you may not be marked attending.

In either case, you can still be confirmed as attending after the fact; simply contact the WorkBC office closest to your school using the interactive map to find the nearest location; call them and tell them you are an apprentice and you need your attendance confirmed. They will look up your class list to confirm you are on it and then they will mark you attending. Your application will then go through the regular eligibility confirmation process.

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