Introduction to Employment Insurance (8:I)

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A. Keeping Up to Date on Changes to Employment Insurance

When working with an EI claim, always ensure that you are working with the most updated information. Consult Service Canada's Employment Insurance website before proceeding.

B. General

Employment Insurance (EI) is a contributory federal social insurance scheme that pays benefits to eligible workers who lose their jobs or who cannot work due to illness, pregnancy or due to responsibilities for a newborn or newly-adopted child, an ill family member, or person who considers the claimant to be like a family member. Service Canada and the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (the Commission) administer and act as the registry for the system.

Under the Employment Insurance Act, SC 1996, c 23 [EI Act], both employees and employers are required to contribute to the payment of premiums. A claimant is not automatically entitled to benefits for loss of employment because he or she paid premiums. Certain criteria (see Section IV: Qualifying for EI)) must be met before benefits are payable.

The EI regime is a multistage system. the list immediately below shows the process of decisions and appeals under the regime:

  1. decision made by an agent of the Commission affecting the Claimant, employer, and the Commission itself;
  2. party applies to the Commission for Reconsideration of the Commission's decision;
  3. party appeals to the Employment Insurance section of the General Division of the SST (Social Security Tribunal of Canada);
  4. party appeals decision of the General Division to the Appeal Division of the SST;
  5. in exceptional cases, claimant applies to Federal Court of Appeal to set aside decision of the SST.

A separate appeal structure exists for cases concerning insurability of employment. This structure is set out in XII. B. 1 Insurability Decisions.

C. Deadlines for Appeals

  • For Requests for Reconsideration: 30 days
  • For appeals to the General Division: 30 days from the date the Reconsideration decision was communicated to the applicant
  • For appeals to the Appeal Division: 30 days from the time the decision was communicated to the applicant unless an extension of time is granted
  • For judicial review to the Federal Court of Appeal: 30 days from the date of the decision was communicated (Federal Courts Act, RSC 1985, c F-7, s 19.1).

For rulings that must be decided by the CRA:

  • For a claimant’s requests for rulings to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA): Before June 30th in the year following the year to which the question relates. Note that the CRA rules on insurability issues.
  • For appeals to the Minister of National Revenue from a CRA decision: 90 days from the date of the notification of the ruling (EI Act, s 91).
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