Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles   Chapter 11 - Section 7

11.7.0 Attending a course of instruction

Sickness benefits are payable to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine and meet the qualifying and entitlement conditions.

While an individual claiming sickness benefits may not cease all other activities. A claimant may want to take advantage of a period of inability and, instead of doing nothing, signs up for a part time short-duration training course. Because such situations would not have arisen if the individual would have been able to work, it cannot be said that in such situations that the individual has not proven that he was otherwise available for work for that period. In these situations, to be entitled to sickness benefits, one must determine that if it had not been for the illness, injury or quarantine, would the claimant have been entitled to regular benefits.

As such, depending on the number of hours devoted to the course of instruction, it may be acceptable for a claimant to attend a course of instruction on the claimant’s own initiative, while in receipt of sickness benefits. The circumstances of each case must be considered individually.

11.7.1 Approved course or employment activity under Section 25 of the Employment Insurance Act

In order to be referred to a course of instruction or employment activity under Section 25 of the EI Act, the claimant must be an “unemployed worker” actively searching for work. Generally, referrals to an approved course or employment activity under Section 25 of the EI Act would not be made for claimants in receipt of sickness benefits.

See Chapter 19.2.6 of the Digest for more information on entitlement to sickness benefits while attending an approved course or other employment activities, to which a claimant was referred by a designated authority, under Section 25 of the EI Act.

See Chapter 19.2.7 of the Digest for more information on disqualification from benefits, where a claimant withdraws from a course or employment activity to which they were referred under Section 25 of the EI Act, because of illness, injury or quarantine.

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