Home Featured ‘Can’t change the law’: Woman who waited 11 months after job loss to apply for EI not entitled to benefits

‘Can’t change the law’: Woman who waited 11 months after job loss to apply for EI not entitled to benefits

by HR Law Canada

A woman who waited 11 months after losing her job to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits took too long, without good reason, and is not entitled to receive them, according to the Social Security Tribunal of Canada.

The applicant argued that she was unaware of the reasons for her job loss, which delayed her application for benefits. However, the tribunal found that the appellant did not have “good cause” for the delay, a requirement for backdating an application.

According to the tribunal, to qualify for antedating an EI application, the applicant must demonstrate good cause throughout the entire period of delay and confirm eligibility for benefits from the earlier date. In this case, the tribunal ruled that the applicant, informed by her union of her rights early in the delay period, failed to take necessary steps to understand and act upon her entitlements.

“The Appellant did not act as a reasonable person would have done throughout the entire period of the delay,” stated the tribunal in its decision. The tribunal noted that the appellant made a deliberate decision not to apply for EI benefits despite knowing about the program and having been informed of her right to apply by her union.

The appellant also faced language barriers, as the hearing was conducted with the help of an interpreter, and she had surgery in February 2023. However, the tribunal concluded that these factors did not justify the overall delay. “While I sympathize with the Appellant’s situation, I can’t change the law,” the tribunal judge wrote.

As a result, the appellant’s request to treat her application as if it had been made nearly a year earlier was denied, reinforcing the need for applicants to promptly pursue their claims for EI benefits.

For more information, see AA v Canada Employment Insurance Commission, 2023 SST 1752 (CanLII).

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