Can I Get EI if I Quit My Job? Canada’s Employment Insurance Questions and Answers

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.

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EI Benefit Changes September 2021 – Employment Insurance Canada update

A picture of calculator and budget book to denote calculating the EI benefit changes as of September 26, 2021.

There are some EI benefit changes as of September 26, 2021 that are now in effect. Here is a list of them below.

EI Benefit Changes September 26, 2021

Workers will now have a uniform hours requirement of working 420 hours to qualify for EI benefits. This will be in place for one year until September 22, 2022.

The weekly floor of the amount you can receive for EI benefits will decrease from $500.00 per week to $300.00 week. This floor will apply to EI benefits made between September 26, 2021 and November 20, 2021.

The duration and value of benefits will once again be calculated using regional unemployment rates that were temporarily replaced over the last year by a uniform unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent.

There will be simplified rules regarding vacation pay and severance to help EI claimants receive benefits sooner.

There will be a one week waiting period for all new EI benefit claims as of September 26, 2021 after it was waived over the last year.

If you are currently on a EI claim before September 26, 2021, these changes will not affect the value or duration of your EI claim.

No Changes to Seasonal Workers

Seasonal workers in 13 regions will still be eligible for an extra 5 weeks of regular EI benefits until October 2022.

The pilot project provides the extra weeks to seasonal workers who started a claim between Aug. 5, 2018 and this coming Oct. 30, provided they had three claims for regular or fishing benefits in the last five years, and at least two started around the same time of year.

Conclusion

The EI benefits changes as of September 26, 2021 reflect the government transitioning out of pandemic relief and back to a normal EI program. However, it cannot fully go back yet as we are still dealing with Covid-19. We will see if these changes will be enough for unemployed Canadians during this time or if there has to be further changes. With covid-19, you never know.

One Time Payment for Older Seniors Starts This Week (Government of Canada)

A picture of a person holding money to highlight the one time payment for older seniors will be paid out starting this week.

Starting this week, a one time payment for older seniors will be sent out by the Federal government. The amount of this payment is $500.00. This payment is taxable. What are the criteria for receiving this payment?

One Time Payment for Older Seniors – Criteria

The government of Canada’s website lists two criteria for seniors to be eligible for this one time payment. First, the person would have to been born on or before June 30, 1947. Second, they would have to be eligible to receive the Old Age Security pension as of June 2021.

If you have applied for Old Age Security but have not yet been approved, you will receive the one time payment if you are approved for Old Age Security retroactively to June 30, 2021 or earlier.

How Will I Receive My Payment?

The government’s website above says that if you receive your Old Age Security by direct deposit, then the one time payment will be directed deposited to you in the week of August 16, 2021. If you receive your Old Age Security by cheque then you will receive the one time payment by cheque.

Finally, no taxes or deductions will be taken from your one time $500 payment. However, because it is a taxable benefit, you will be sent a tax slip and you will be required to declare this amount on your income tax return for 2021.

Conclusion

The one time payment for older seniors is a nice little boost for them during these difficult times. Many seniors have very little income, so anything extra can go a long way. If you are eligible, make sure that you have applied for Old Age Security to make sure you will receive this payment as this is free money. Actually nothing is really free but this is as free as it can get.

Canada Recovery Benefits Unavailable if You Have Not Filed Your Taxes For 2019 and 2020

Picture of Canadian money to highlight paying taxes and highlight subject of Canada Recovery Benefits unavailable if you have not filed your 2019 and 2020 taxes.

The Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB) are now unavailable to people who have not filed their 2019 and 2020 tax returns. This is according to recent changes to the government of Canada’s website on the criteria of receiving the Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB). This means you need to file your taxes to keep qualifying for the emergency benefit. However there are some exceptions below.

Canada Recovery Benefits Unavailable – Exceptions

A recent news article noted some exceptions to this which are listed below:

  • A 2019 or 2020 tax return won’t be required if you applied for fewer than 21 periods since September 27, 2020.
  •  You applied for the time period of July 4 to 17, 2021, or during earlier time periods.

Conclusion

If you have been collecting the Canada Recovery Benefits or might be planning on applying for it in the new future, you will need file your taxes. The government has this as one of it’s criteria when you apply. So there is no way around it. However, there are exceptions as mentioned above but it is limited. The government has been hinting at this and now it is here. So now we must adjust.

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Canada Extending COVID-19 Benefits to October 23, 2021

A picture of COVID-19 virus to highlight the subject of Canada extending covid-19 benefits to October 23, 2021.

The government of Canada recently announced that it is extending COVID-19 benefits until October 23, 2021. What are the specific details of this announcement? See below.

Canada Extending COVID-19 Benefits – Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) , Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and Lockdown Support

The Canadian government’s recent news release states that it will extend the eligibility period for these three programs up to October 23, 2021. It will also increase the rate of support that employers and organizations can receive during the period between August 29, 2021 to September 25, 2021. This will be a relief to many employers who are still trying to get their businesses up and running.

Canada Extending COVID-19 Benefits – Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) 

The same government news release above also stated that these three programs would be extended until October 23, 2021. Regarding the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the government is extending the maximum number weeks available by four weeks for a total of 54 weeks at a rate of $300.00 per week.

The government also ensures it that the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will be available to ones who have exhausted their Employment Insurance Benefits.

Conclusion

This announcement will come as a relief to many Canadians as there is still uncertainty in the economy due to the pandemic. Will all these benefits end after October 23, 2021? Only time will tell but as seen by this recent announcement, things are still not back to normal. Also, we see that COVID-19 is very resilient and no one knows how bad things could get with the variants. Because of this the government is taking a cautious approach and as we have seen with this announcement, it will adjust accordingly. As a result, these benefits could end or not. We will have to wait and see.

Other Articles about Government of Canada programs and assistance:

Denied EI Benefits – What Are My Options? Can I appeal an EI decision?

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.