As of April 1, 2013, Bill C-38 (also known as the
Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act) modified the
Employment Insurance (EI) appeals process. As
opposed to the former appeals system, whereby appeals of EI
Commission decisions were heard by boards of referees and then
subsequently by umpires, appeals will now be heard by the Social
Security Tribunal (SST), a new independent administrative tribunal
at arm’s length from Human Resources and Skills Development
The SST, composed of 74 members (39 of whom will be dedicated to
EI appeals), will include two levels of appeals. In
A General Division (first level of appeal);
An Appeal Division (second level of appeal) to
decide appeals of decisions made by the General Division. To
qualify for an Appeal Division hearing, a claimant will have to
obtain leave (permission) unless their appeal was dismissed
summarily by the General Division.
EI appeals filed on April 1, 2013 or thereafter will proceed to
the SST, whereas appeals filed prior to this date will continue to
proceed under the former system for a one year transitional
period. Following this transition period, the SST will be the
only body responsible for hearing first and second level EI
Notably, the SST will also be responsible for appeals relating
to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS)
entitlements. Murielle Brazeau, Chairperson of the SST,
states that the SST, “simplifies and streamlines the appeal
processes by offering a single point of contact for submitting an
appeal.” However, and with respect to EI appeals
specifically, as the SST will eventually phase out the
approximately 1000 part-time referees and 32 umpires under the
former appeal system, it remains to be seen whether this
simplification will come at the expense of expediency.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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