Fast Forward Program

Important Changes to the Fast Forward Program

The program information, related eligibility criteria and application form for Fast Forward Program have changed.

New eligibility requirement: Effective June 7, 2019, new applicants to the Fast Forward Program must be part of the labour force for at least 24 months throughout their employment history before being eligible for the program.

Updated program purpose: The intent of the Fast Forward Program is to encourage unemployed EI claimants to try to improve their skills during periods of unemployment. The federal government has asked that Nova Scotia adjust the Fast Forward program to ensure it aligns with the EI Program, and supports unemployed workers who are taking training during a period of unemployment.

Already approved? Current agreement holders will be advised of the changes and their implications in writing by Employment Nova Scotia.

About the Fast Forward Program

Fast Forward is a federal initiative that encourages unemployed EI claimants to improve their skills during periods of unemployment. Successful applicants can continue to receive federal Employment Insurance (EI) benefits while attending approved training opportunities. You must have a current claim for Regular Benefits or have applied to Service Canada for EI Regular Benefits before you apply.

This program does not fund training directly. You fund the training yourself. This program enables you to take training during your period of unemployment — at your own expense — while you continue to collect EI Regular Benefits. You continue to receive EI benefits for as long as your current claim lasts.

This program is a federal-provincial collaboration:

  • Who administers the Fast Forward Program?
    Employment Nova Scotia, a division of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, administers the Fast Forward Program in Nova Scotia, on behalf of the federal government.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible to participate in the Fast Forward Program if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You are a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident entitled to work in Canada.
  • You are a permanent resident of Nova Scotia.
  • You are unemployed.
  • You have a current Employment Insurance (EI) claim for Regular Benefits or have applied to Service Canada for EI Regular Benefits.
  • You have developed a plan to return to school on a full-time basis to upgrade your education or employment skills and increase your skills and knowledge to assist you to find sustainable employment.
  • You have been accepted to an eligible training program.
  • You have the financial means or financing in place to pay for your education and training costs, such as tuition and books, for the full duration of your training.

AND

  • You have been fully participating in the labour market for at least 24 months before you submit an application. This is known as Labour Force Attachment (LFA). If you have been a student, you must have made a clear transition from school to the labour market and have been fully participating in the labour market for at least 24 months.

To be attached to the labour force you must have been:

  • actively seeking employment
  • employed full-time
  • maintaining part-time employment while actively seeking full-time employment
  • self-employed

OR

  • a combination of the above

Your 24 months of labour force attachment does not need to be continuous. You can have breaks and still qualify if the total LFA time throughout your employment history meets the 24 months minimum. 

When calculating your 24 months, do not include any time for which you voluntarily withdrew or removed yourself from the labour market as a result of one or more of the following:

  • You were in receipt of EI Special Benefits — maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, or family caregiver benefit.
  • You were not actively seeking employment while unemployed.
  • You were enrolled in an educational institution full-time (including periods of summer employment or part-time employment while enrolled).

Do you have an active EI Regular Benefits claim?

This program is for those who qualify for EI Regular Benefits.
Before you submit an application to the Fast Forward Program, you must either
• be receiving EI Regular Benefits
OR
• have requested EI Regular Benefits by starting an EI claim process with Service Canada
Without an active claim, we cannot accept your application. We return it to you.

Are you eligible for EI Regular Benefits?

If you may be eligible, we encourage you to begin the EI Regular Benefits claim process as soon as possible. This will allow you to submit an application for the Fast Forward Program to Employment Nova Scotia at the earliest possible date.

Please note: if you quit your job to return to school, you will likely not be eligible for EI Regular Benefits. If you are not eligible for EI Regular Benefits, you are not eligible for the Fast Forward Program.

What is the deadline to submit my Fast Forward Program application?

You may apply either before or after your training program start date.

If you apply after your training program start date, then you must meet two conditions:

  • Submit your applications no later than 60 calendar days of the current term/semester of your training program. 
  • Submit your application before the end date of a training program.

Deadlines are strictly enforced.

What types of training are eligible?

Training must meet all the following conditions to be considered for support under the Fast Forward Program:

  • The training must be full-time, industry recognized, and supported by labour market information that indicates there are job prospects in the field.
  • The type of training must be one of the following: academic upgrading, literacy/ numeracy, English or French as a Second Language, skills training for specific occupations, and university degree program.
  • The duration of training must typically be a minimum of 5 days:
    • Exceptions are considered for courses of shorter duration when the training is longer than 10 hours in duration and includes full, consecutive days of training activity.
  • The training must be delivered by an approved training institution, unless exempt:
    • An “approved training institution” means a registered training institution in keeping with the Nova Scotia Private Career Colleges regulations and standards.
    • Exempt institution: some institutions are exempt from this registration — universities are exempt, NSCC is exempt.
    • Exempt training program: some training programs are not required to be registered under this legislation.

What does financial support look like under the Fast Forward Program?

This program authorizes you to continue to receive EI from Service Canada while in training only.

You continue to receive EI Regular Benefits during the training program — you are using your EI claim period to improve your skills and employability. The Fast Forward Program does not extend the length of time of your EI Regular Benefits. The scheduled end date of your EI claim does not change.

Support is linked to your EI claim. The amount of time you receive support and the date your support begins looks different for everyone. Here are some explanations of how support occurs depending on the timing of your application submission:

  • If your application is received before the start date of your current term/semester and approved before that start date, support under the Fast Forward Program begins on the start date of your current term/semester.
  • If your application is received before the start date of your current term/semester but is approved after that start date, support under the Fast Forward Program is backdated to the start date of your current term/semester.
  • If your application is received after the start date of your current term/semester and if it is approved, support under the Fast Forward Program is backdated to the date your application was received by Employment Nova Scotia only.

Should you have difficulty funding your education once your EI payments have ended, Employment Nova Scotia cannot help you.

What should I know about completing my application?

  • You must describe your employment goals.
  • You must explain how the training course you have chosen will help you find employment upon completion.
  • You must confirm that you have a financial plan that will fund your education and that will ensure that you have the financial means to complete your training when your EI claim ends. 
  • If the duration of your training is 5 days or longer, you must submit a resume.

What happens after I apply?

Employment Nova Scotia

acknowledges receipt of your application by mail and email — sent within 5 business days

reviews your application for completeness

assesses your application against program criteria

If your application is approved, we mail you a copy of the approved Fast Forward Program Agreement. This agreement sets out your benefits and responsibilities.

How do I apply?

  • Complete the application form (PDF)
  • Sign the application on page 7, the agreement on page 10, the acknowledgement about personal information on page 11, and — if NSCC is part of your application — the NSCC consent and release on page 12.
  • Submit the form to Employment Nova Scotia by in-person drop off, mail, or fax to one of the offices listed below only:


Bridgewater
PO Box 3500
270 Logan Road
Bridgewater, NS B4V 3V3           
Fax: 902-541-5651

Halifax
Suite 301 - 103 Garland Avenue
Dartmouth, NS B3B 0K5
Fax: 902-722-5038

New Glasgow  
187 Terra Cotta Drive
New Glasgow, NS B2H 6B6
Fax: 902-928-3697

Truro 
Suite 8 - 60 Lorne Street
Truro, NS B2N 3K3                             
Fax: 902-896-4497

Sydney
Suite 3 - 1030 Upper Prince St
Sydney, NS B1P 5P6                  
Fax: 902-563-3525