Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 5 - Section 1

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In this chapter, the term "earnings" always refers to moneys which have already been determined to be earnings pursuant to Regulation 35.

5.1.0 Overview

The Employment Insurance Act is an insurance plan under which beneficiaries are provided with monetary assistance when they become unemployed and suffer a financial loss. Once a claim is established, claimants must demonstrate that each week of benefit claimed is a week of unemployment and that there are no circumstances or conditions that would disentitle or disqualify them from receiving benefits.

One of the circumstances or conditions that would reduce benefit is the receipt of moneys or non-pecuniary benefits that are earnings to be deducted from benefits. Any compensation received for the loss of employment, as well as any wages, salary and any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary benefits related to, attached to, or arising out of employment nullify the financial loss incurred by the claimant. In order to prevent double indemnification, these benefits and advantages will be deducted from benefits.

This chapter discusses the determination and allocation of earnings to be deducted from benefits. The impact of earnings on a claim for benefits can be found in other chapters of the Digest Footnote 1 .

Moneys, which are determined to be earnings for insurability purposes, are different than earnings for benefit purposes. Therefore, the earnings provisions covered in this chapter cannot be used for insurability purposes Footnote 2 . As well, the treatment of moneys under the Income Tax Act or any other legislation does not have any application to the determination or allocation of earnings under the EI legislation.

5.1.1 Proof

The onus is on claimants to disclose and describe all moneys as well as all non-pecuniary benefits given to them for a period of unemployment. Very strong evidence would be required to rebut a detailed statement of a claimant's earnings for a week taken from the employer's payroll records, Footnote 3 especially where the claimant failed to disclose the earnings at the proper time. When the claimant refuses or fails to provide all the requested information, which may be needed for a proper determination and allocation of earnings, amounts that appear reasonable are set by the Commission as earnings or expenses. If this is not possible, a disentitlement is applicable or the claim is not established if the interruption of earnings is the issue.

The policy of the Commission is to assist claimants in discharging their onus of proof. When the claimant, although willing, is unable to provide or clarify the evidence, the Commission will contact the employer or any other party.

5.1.2 The role of the Commission

The Commission's role is to determine:

  1. what moneys are earnings within the meaning of the EI Act and Regulations; Footnote 4
  2. when the earnings are paid or payable; Footnote 5
  3. why the earnings are paid or payable, that is, the reason for the payment; and
  4. where the allocation begins Footnote 6 .

In order to make this determination, the true nature of the payments must be established. When doubt exists about the true nature of a payment, the Commission will assist the claimants in providing or clarifying the evidence by contacting the employer or any other party.

Claimants frequently contact the Commission to determine what effect the payment of moneys will have on their claim for benefits. When claimants make choices which may be to their detriment because the information supplied by the Commission was wrong, they cannot obtain relief based on the fact they were given incorrect information. The Act and Regulations governing the determination and allocation of earnings must be applied Footnote 7 . It is therefore of the utmost importance that the Commission obtain all pertinent information before advising the claimant of the potential effect moneys may have on the claim so an informed decision may be made.

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