Denied EI Benefits – What Are My Options?

A picture of person stressed to denote a person who was denied EI benefits and doesn't know what to do next.

If you ever been denied EI benefits, it is a horrible feeling. You feel crushed and hopeless as you think that there are now no other options. Now the reality is that Employment Insurance has criteria that one needs to meet to qualify for EI such as having enough insurable hours of employment and so on.

However, things can get a bit murky when it comes to the issue of quitting your job or being fired from it. These issues are adjudicated based on the EI Act and EI digest and then a decision is made to allow your reason of separation or not. It’s in these areas where many people get frustrated as they might feel that they have a valid reason for leaving their job. However, they are denied EI benefits. Is there any other options if you are denied?

Denied EI Benefits – You Can Appeal the Decision

If you are denied EI benefits, you can write a letter back to appeal the decision. You have 30 days after the date of your EI notice of decision letter to do so. In the letter you need to clearly explain why the decision was wrong and provide as much details as possible on why you should have received EI. Sometimes this is where many people get denied in the first place, as they do not fully explain the circumstances that led to them to be fired or them to quit. In the appeal letter, you need to give all these details.

When you send your letter back, it goes to the appeals department where benefit officers will look at your EI claim again and see if there were things missed when the original decision was made. If they look at it and deem that you should have received EI benefits, the decision will be reversed and they will set up your EI claim and inform you of the decision. However, what happens if they uphold original decision to deny you EI?

Board of Referees Hearing

If the appeals department upholds original decision, then your appeal will go to the Board of Referees for a hearing. A date for the hearing will be set and your EI claim will be adjudicated by a three person panel. You can show up for the hearing and present your information to them if you like. A representative from EI Benefits can also come and present evidence also but most of the time, this doesn’t happen as the Board of Referees will have the EI file that the officer made with the details on why they made their decision. They will take this information and any additional information you present and come to a decision to either allow your EI claim or not. What happens if my EI is still denied, are there any other options?

Denied EI Benefits – Appeal to An Umpire

You can appeal the Board of Referees’ decision and it will go to a person called an Umpire. This person will look at all the EI information that is collected at that point and will make a decision base on the EI Act and EI digest above and on previous legal precedents. If the Umpire feels that the person does qualify for EI benefits then the claim is set up. One point of note is that Employment Insurance can also appeal a Board of Referees decision to the Umpire if they feel that the person should not be collecting EI benefits. So what happens if the Umpire still denies my EI claim. Is there any other options?

Last Options – Federal Court and Supreme Court

If you still feel that you should get EI benefits at this point, you can take the case to Federal Court. However, this might take some time (perhaps years) for your case to be heard. At this point, if the Federal Court rules against you, the last option is taking the case to the Supreme Court which will take even more time and there is no guarantees they would even hear your case. At this point, all options would have been exhausted.

Conclusion

There are options to appeal an EI decision that denies you of collecting EI benefits. However, the longer you go in the process, they longer it takes and the road is more and more difficult. So in the end, it comes down to how far you want to take things and do you really feel that the decision made to deny you EI benefits was an injustice that must be rectified no matter what? That’s a decision that only you can make.

GST Dates – When Will I Receive My GST Rebate?

Canadian money to highlight GST dates and when will I receive my GST rebate.

When are the GST dates to receive the rebate cheque? For many this is an important question as this helps cover some extras that they need especially during these times. How do I get a GST rebate and when does it come?

GST Dates – How Do I receive a GST Rebate?

The Government of Canada’s Website, that the amount you receive is base on the following below:

  • your family net income
    • If you’re single, the amount from line 23600 of your income tax return, or the amount that it would be if you completed one
    • If you have a spouse or common-law partner, your net incomes are combined to get your family net income
  • the number of children under 19 years old that you have registered for the Canada child benefit and the GST/HST credit

The key is that you have to file a tax return to be eligible to receive the rebate. Once you file a tax return, CRA calculates if you are eligible for a GST rebate or not.

When Will I Receive a GST Rebate and How Much?

The Government of Canada’s website states that base on your 2020 tax return, GST payments for the 2021 year will be made on July 5, 2021, October 5, 2021, January 5, 2022 and April 5, 2022. The key here is that you have to had filed your 2020 tax return to be eligible.

Regarding payments, the government’s website states that the amount that someone can get in rebate payments base on the 2020 tax year are as follows:

  • $456 if you are single
  • $598 if you are married or have a common-law partner
  • $157 for each child under the age of 19

Conclusion

If you have filed your 2020 return and if you qualify, you should be receiving a GST cheque anytime. If you have not file your 2020 return, then this would be delayed. Not everyone receives a GST cheque as the key component is income and the more income you have, the less chance you will get a payment. However, there are other factors such as marital status and children under 19 years old. The key is to file your return and let CRA calculate it. This rebate might not seem much but for many, it is a pleasant surprise to receive and in these times, every little bit helps.

Can I Get EI if I Quit My Job?

A picture to denote a person wanting to quit their job and asking the question can I get EI if I quit my job?

Can I get EI if I quit my job? This is a very important question and something that a lot of people do not understand. Many people think that they have a better chance to collect Employment Insurance if they quit their job instead of being fired. This is false. Why is this so and can I collect EI if I quit?

Can I Get EI if I Quit My Job? Possible in A Few Cases but Difficult

The EI Digest defines voluntary leave or quit as ” the claimant and not the employer took the initiative in terminating the employer-employee relationship.” it goes on to say that “a claimant is disqualified from receiving any benefits if the claimant lost any employment because of their misconduct or voluntarily left any employment without just cause.”

And that is the key. A person who quits their job must have just cause or you can say a valid reason for doing so. As a result, the onus is on the claimant to prove that they had just cause in quitting their job. This is quite different from someone being fired where the employer has to prove misconduct.

What is Just Cause?

Section 29(c) of the EI Act defines it as below:

Just cause for voluntarily leaving an employment or taking leave from an employment exists if the claimant had no reasonable alternative to leaving or taking leave, having regard to all the circumstances, including any of the following:

  1. sexual or other harassment;
  2. obligation to accompany a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child to another residence;
  3. discrimination on a prohibited ground of discrimination within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act;
  4. working conditions that constitute a danger to health or safety;
  5. obligation to care for a child or a member of the immediate family;
  6. reasonable assurance of another employment in the immediate future;
  7. significant modification of terms and conditions respecting wages or salary;
  8. excessive overtime work or refusal to pay for overtime work;
  9. significant changes in work duties;
  10. antagonism with a supervisor if the claimant is not primarily responsible for the antagonism;
  11. practices of an employer that are contrary to law;
  12. discrimination with regard to employment because of membership in an association, organization or union of workers;
  13. undue pressure by an employer on the claimant to leave their employment, and;
  14. any other reasonable circumstances that are prescribed.

The other reasonable circumstances referred to in EIA 29(c)(xiv) are those which are prescribed by regulation Footnote1

What does the above mean? In layman’s terms, it means that you had to quit your job as you had no other choice based on the reasons mentioned in the EI Act. Also, it is not enough to say that you had a reason to quit, but you have to prove it and show that you tried to remedy the situation or look for an alternative etc. If a Benefits Officer looks at your application and sees that you had just cause, then you can be approve for EI.

Conclusion

It is possible to collect EI if you quit your job. However, you must prove that you had “just cause” in leaving your job. As seen above, this is not a casual reason but a last resort. Because of that, you must think long and hard if you are thinking on quitting your job. Especially, if you are wanting to collect EI while you are not working. Before making at decision, look at your situation and do your research as knowledge is power.

You Might Also Like: Can I Apply For EI if I Get Fired?

Can I Apply For EI if I Get Fired?

A picture to denote someone applying for EI benefits to highlight the question of can I apply for EI benefits if I get fired.

Can I apply for EI if I get fired from my job? There has been a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to this question. Many people think that if they do get fired from their job that they cannot get EI benefits. Some employers even pressure their employees to quit stating that it is better that you quit then get fired. As a result many people assume that they cannot get EI benefits and do not apply. But is this true?

Can I Apply for EI if I Get Fired? Of Course You Can

Anybody can apply for EI regardless of the reason you stopped working. The key is that you are no longer working or their is work stoppage of at least seven days. If you have that, then you can apply. But the real issue is that can someone get approved for EI benefits if they have been fired?

Can I Collect EI Benefits if I Have Been Fired? Sometimes Yes

A little known fact that many people do not know is that if the employer fires you and puts dismissal on your record of employment, the onus is on the employer to prove misconduct by the Employer. What is misconduct? The Employment Insurance Digest gives a detailed explanation of this term. However, in simple terms it is unlawful conduct. And this conduct by the employee was willful and of evil intent. So you can see, misconduct is serious or even unlawful actions carried out by the employee that result in his/her dismissal.

For example, if the employer put dismissal on an employee’s record of employment and stated the reason as theft. The EI Benefits Officer will call the employer and ask questions such as “what proof do you have that the employee stole? Do you have evidence such as a video? Did you file a police report?” And so on. As mentioned it is up to the employer to prove misconduct, not the claimant filing for EI.

This is because if the evidence between the employer and claimant is equal, the benefit of the doubt will go to the claimant. Here’s an excerpt from The Employment Insurance Digest which says: “The EI Act (ss49(2)) is very clear on the action to be taken if there is an issue of disqualification and the evidence presented by the claimant and by the employer are equally balanced: the benefit of the doubt is given to the claimant.”

As a result, a person can be approved for EI benefits if though they were fired because the employer has to prove that misconduct was involved.

Conclusion

If you have been fired or dismissed from your job, you definitely should apply for EI benefits. The reason is that the employer has to prove that their was misconduct to warrant a dismissal. If it comes done to a he said she said scenario, the benefit of the doubt will go to the person applying for benefits. So if you are ever in a situation where your employer says if you have the choice to quit or be fired. If you haven’t done anything unlawful, then it is better to take option 2, especially if you need to apply for EI.

Applying For EI Benefits, 5 Things You Should Know

Stressed out person applying for EI Benefits

Applying for EI benefits is often a stressful experience.  The process is not user friendly.  First, you have to go to the government website and look for the EI application.  Once you have found it, you then have the arduous process of going through it, which can take hours.  Also, calling the 1-800 number for help may take even more hours! (This is understandable right now, during the coronavirus crisis. The number of EI claims is shocking! At last count, there were 2.2 million new EI claims in Canada.)

 However, if you have lost your job and have no other money coming in, you need to apply for Employment Insurance.  So, what are some things that you need to know when you are applying for EI benefits?  Here are 5 things that you need to know:

Applying for EI Benefits: Apply Immediately (Even Without a Record of Employment)

Surprisingly, many do not apply for EI right away, thinking that they need to wait for their record of employment.  They might think that it’s pointless to apply without their ROE.  This is 100% wrong.  You should apply for EI benefits right after you finish your last day of work, period.  Why?  First, you only have 4 weeks from your last work day to apply.  If you do not, you could get less benefits than you are entitled to.

 Second, most records of employment are automatically sent to EI by your employer.  So even if you haven’t received one yet, it’s most likely that the government has it already.

Third, the government can make a temporary record of employment based on your application and set up your EI claim using that.  Once the actual record of employment comes in, your application can be recalculated. 

Applying for EI: More Details are Better

For some reason, many people don’t want to describe the reasons why they are no longer working.  Maybe it’s because they are shy or perhaps, they do not want to seem to complain about their situation.    However, it is extremely important to give full details on why you are no longer working, especially if you quit or were dismissed.  More is better!  Think about it this way: whoever is going to look at your application has no idea of the situation at all.  For them, it’s like looking at a blank canvas.  You need to create a detailed picture or painting.  The more details you can provide, the clearer the picture is.  This helps the benefits officer make a better decision on your application.

Applying for EI: Dismissal is Not Actually Bad

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about EI.  Most people think if you get dismissed or fired from your job that you automatically won’t get EI.  Employers will even tell employees that it’s better for you to quit than to get fired.  This is absolutely not true!  Why?  Because if your employer dismisses you, the onus is on the employer to prove misconduct on the part of the employee in order to deny their EI benefits.  A lot of EI adjudicators use the Black’s Dictionary of misconduct to define whether someone has done something that is willful and of evil intent. 

For example, if your employer dismissed you because you were not good at your job that is not misconduct.  Even if you were late for work, or were argumentative etc., the employer would have to show that they addressed the issue.  For example, were there warnings, conversations and the like?   Even, for things like accusing an employee of theft, the responsibility is on the employer to show or prove that this happened.  For example, were their witnesses?  Is there video?  Did they call the police and file a police report? 

Also, if an employee was paid severance by their employer, this shows that there wasn’t misconduct The thinking behind this is why would you pay additional money to someone who committed misconduct?  As you can see, with dismissal the pressure is on the employer to prove misconduct, which is not easy to do.

It’s a Lot Harder to Get EI Benefits if You Quit

Many people do not realize this, but it is really hard to get EI benefits if you quit.  Unfortunately, people think that it’s better than getting dismissed or fired.  This is false, because f you quit all the pressure is on you to prove that you had “just cause” in quitting.  What does this mean?  It means that you had no other choice.

For example, suppose you were being harassed at work by a co-worker.  You couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to quit.  However, for EI purposes you would have to exhaust your alternatives first.  Did you talk to a manager about the harassment?  Had you gone to your union about the harassment?  Did you go to Human Resources?  Did you go to Labour Standards or Human Rights?  If you did and there was still no real change in your situation then you would have a chance to get EI benefits. 

A tool that can help you if you are in this position of either thinking of quitting your job or you’ve already done so is the EI Digest.   This document lays out how different EI issues are looked at. It can give you some insight on what information you would need to provide on your EI application.

If Rejected, Appeal

It is always tough to get a rejection letter, but especially when it comes to EI benefits.  As a result, many people give up and move on.  However, in a lot of cases you should appeal the decision.  You might feel intimidated because when you appeal, it says there will be an appeal hearing with a 3-person tribunal (called a board of referees). You have the option to be present for it.  It is like going to court and who wants to go to court?  However, there is a step that’s not mentioned that might help you if you write an appeal letter on why you feel the decision made was incorrect.

Before an appeal goes to the board of referees, it goes to the appeal department.  This department is made of experienced adjudicators who will look at the application again. They see if the original decision made was correct. And they also decide if they could possibly allow the claim based on information the client has provided on the application and any new information in their appeal letter.

 The advantage of this is that you have a more experienced adjudicator looking at your EI claim with even more information.  This gives you a better chance at being approved.  Also, sometimes they might find another way for you to qualify for EI benefits. For example the information you provided might qualify you for sickness benefits, rather than regular Employment Insurance.  So, it doesn’t hurt to try to appeal a decision if you are rejected.

Conclusion

Applying for EI benefits is hard and can be emotionally draining.  However, if you keep the above points in mind, hopefully the process will be a bit easier   Applying for any government benefit seems intimidating but the more you know about a program, the easier it is to navigate through it.  Hopefully, this results in a favourable outcome for you.

Canada Budget 2021 Highlights

A picture of Canadian 50 dollar bill to denote Canada Budget 2021 highlights.

A few days ago, the Minister of Finance gave Canada budget 2021 highlights. She indicated that there would be 101.4 billion dollars in new spending over next three years. The goal is to recover from the pandemic and kickstart the move to a greener economy. So what are some of the main highlights of the budget?

Canada Budget 2021 Highlights – Main Points

Here are some of the main highlights of the 2021 budget taken from the government of Canada’s website and CBC’s website below. Both those sites go into great deal about the budget but here are the main highlights below:

-Extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support until September 25, 2021.

-Extending the weeks available for the Canada Recovery Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.

-Increasing the Employment Insurance sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks.

-$30 billion over five years and $8.3 billion per year after that to create and sustain a national child care program. Goal is a $10/day child care service by 2025-2026.

-Taxable grant payment of $500 to Old Age Security pensioners age 75 or older as of June 2022 and a 10 per cent boost to maximum OAS benefits for pensioners 75 or older starting July 1, 2022.

-$18 billion to build safer, healthier Indigenous communities.

-$17.6 billion for green recovery which means to conserve 25 per cent of lands and oceans by 2025. Also, put Canada on course to exceed climate change targets by cutting emissions to 36 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

-A new $15 federal minimum wage.

Conclusion

The above are some of the main highlights of the budget. The government’s plan is ambitious but opponents are worried about the excess spending and huge debt that will be incurred. Will the government’s plan work? Only time will tell as life is pretty unpredictable right now.

CPP and OAS Payment Dates 2021 – Canada Pension Plan payments and Old Age Security

A person on a calculator to denote someone calculating their budgeting based on CERB ends and being replaced by new EI, CRB, CRSB and CRCB programs.

Hello everyone! We’re here to tell you all of the dates for 2021 that you’ll be receiving both your Canada Pension plan payments and Old Age security payments. (CPP and OAS.) This information can be very helpful in helping you to plan ahead, and to budget. So, with that in mind we will provide you with every date in 2021 that you’ll be receiving these payments. You can bookmark this page to come back and check each month OR, simply mark all of the dates on your calendar at home.

According to the Government of Canada website, your CPP payment includes the retirement pension and disability, children’s and survivor benefits. The Old Age Security payments include OAS itself, Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), allowance and allowance for survivor.

Payments of both Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan are made on the same dates each month.

By setting up direct deposit, these payments will be deposited right into your selected bank account on the dates indicated below. Otherwise, you will receive cheques in the mail.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for January 2021

This month’s payment date is January 27, 2021.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for February 2021

For February, the payment date is February 24, 2021.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for March 2021

March 29, 2021 is the payment date for March.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for April 2021

This payment date will be April 28, 2021.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for May 2021

May 27, 2021 is the date of payment.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for June 2021

This month you’ll be paid on June 28, 2021.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for July 2021

July 28, 2021 is the date for this month of 2021.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for August 2021

This time, it’s August 27, 2021 that your payments will arrive on.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for September 2021

September 28, 2021 is when your payment will arrive in either your mailbox, or directly into your bank account.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for October 2021

October 27, 2021 is the date of payment this time around.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for November 2021

This time you’ll get paid on November 26, 2021.

CPP and OAS Payment Date for December 2021

And for the last month of the year, you’ll receive your OAS and/or CPP payment on December 22, 2021.

We hope this information will prove helpful to you throughout the year! It truly helps to be able to plan ahead, and know when your payments will arrive to you.

CERS and CEWS Extended to June 2021

Picture of Canadian money to denote businesses receiving help due to CERS and CEWS being extended to June 2021.

On March 3, 2021, the government announced that the CERS and CEWS would be extended to June 5, 2021. They said both programs will be maintained at current levels. This is good news for businesses who are still struggling. Here’s what that means below.

CERS and CEWS Extended June 2021 Details

The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will be extended to June 5, 2021. It will still cover up to 65% of eligible employers’ rent. Also, the additional 25% lockdown subsidy top-up for hard hit businesses restricted by more severe public health guidelines will be extended to June 5, 2021.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will also be extended to June 5, 2021. It will still cover up to 75% of employees’ wages for eligible employers.

The government also announced an extension for Furloughed workers to June 5, 2021. Here’s a quote from the government’s website regarding this:

“the government intends to continue to align the wage subsidy rate structure with the benefits provided through the Employment Insurance program from March 14 to June 5, 2021. This means employers who qualify for the wage subsidy would be able to continue to claim up to a maximum benefit of $595 per week per employee to support remuneration of their furloughed workers.”

Conclusion

The Prime Minister said, “This isn’t the time to pull back on support for workers or business owners, it’s the time to see people through what is hopefully the final stretch of this crisis and it’s time to get the whole economy ready to come roaring back,”

Hopefully he is correct and we are in the final stretch of this pandemic. But as already seen so far, the coronavirus is unpredictable and highly resilient. So only time will tell if we are nearing the finish line. Until then, please stay safe.

How much will my OAS payment be? Old Age Security payment questions

A person on a calculator to denote someone calculating their budgeting based on CERB ends and being replaced by new EI, CRB, CRSB and CRCB programs.

Hi everyone! Hope it’s nice and sunny wherever you’re joining us from. I wanted to post a quick and helpful link about Old Age Security payment amounts. On our post Old Age Security and CPP Payments for 2021, Don left a comment and asked a very important question. He asked what the amount would be for his OAS (Old Age Security) payment come January 2021.

So, I went and did a little research and provided this link for him in replying to his comment. But then I decided that actually a lot of our visitors might find this information helpful! Here is a link to the Government of Canada website that discusses how to calculate what your OAS payment amount will be starting in January 2021. https://bargainblog.ca/cpp-and-oas-payment-dates-2021-canada-pension-plan-payments-and-old-age-security/

Maximum Old Age Security Payment (OAS) in Canada

You’ll find much more information on the government’s website, but basically the OAS maximum payment amount per month is $614.14. There are also other benefits available, which you can find on the link I provided above. The Old Age Security benefits are reviewed four times a year – in January, April, July and October – to ensure that the payments are reflecting the increased costs of living.

We really hope this link and information helps you to plan and budget for next year. Please take care all, and stay safe.

Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement and Budget – Highlights

A picture of someone holding Canadian money to denote how the Government of Canada's fall economic statement will affects many Canadian's pocket books.

On Monday November 30, 2020, I got up and watched the Government of Canada’s fall economic statement. I wanted to see what further relief plans they had for Canadians who are struggling due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The finance minister, Chyrstia Freeland, mentioned a myriad of things they were planning to do with some ideas being more concrete than others. Here are some of the highlights below.

Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement- Increasing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Rate

To continue to help businesses, the government is increasing the maximum rate of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to 75 per cent for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and extending this rate until March 13, 2021. This means the government will cover up to 75% of employees’ wages during this time period. Originally, this had decreased, but this amount has now been restored to cover up to 75% of wages again.

Extension of The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) Rate and Lockdown Support

The current maximum rate of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy is 65 percent and businesses severely affected by a lockdown good get could get up to additional 25 percent of eligible expenses. This rate was to last until December 19, 2020 but now has been extended until March 13, 2021.

Potential Support for Airlines, Tourism, Hotels, Arts – Highly Affected Sectors Credit

The Finance Minister also mentioned setting up low interest loans in these industries of up to a million dollars. Those industries, as noted in the heading, are airlines, tourism, hotels and the arts. The terms of these loans would be extended over a period of up to 10 years. This will be called the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program.

Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement – More Support for Families

To help families with young children through the pandemic, the government will provide temporary support of up to $1,200 in 2021 for each child under the age of six for families entitled to the Canada Child Benefit.

Conclusion

The Government of Canada’s Fall Economic statement contained a lot of details on programs and ideas to help Canadians navigate through this pandemic and beyond. The above were just some of the main highlights gleaned from it. If you want a more detailed listing, please visit the government’s website. The cost of these programs will be enormous but the government feels it is necessary for the situation we are in. Will it help? Only time will tell but for many who are suffering due to covid-19, any help at all is good help. Stay safe.