Found the answer. Looks like best to apply when most financially flexible and use as a rainy day fund.
https://canadianmortgagesinc.ca/informa ... heloc.html
OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR GETTING A HELOC
The lenders also run a financial background check on the home owner to assess his/her capability to repay the loan withdrawn from the home equity line of credit. The credit history plays a great role in getting such a credit line approved and in deciding the interest rate that the lender offers. Your debt to income ratio also has a part to play in assessing your risk as a borrower.
The home’s value is appraised to determine the equity value and all owner documents are verified to ascertain ownership and mortgage position on the property. Proof of steady income and ability to repay the loan is also assessed. If you are a self employed person or have an unsteady or fluctuating income, you may have to convince the lender of your ability to repay the loan liability. The lender will also seek documentation regarding previous second mortgages on the property and their repayment history.