Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 13 - Section 3

13.3.0 Parental benefits with respect to other provisions

A claim for parental benefits is unique in the impact that certain provisions of the EI Act have during the period that the claimant is in receipt of parental benefits. These situations are covered in the sections that follow.

13.3.1 Fishing claims

Individuals who earn their insurable hours in fishing can establish a claim for parental benefits based on their insurable employment in fishing. Fishers will be entitled to EI parental benefits if they are major attached, that is have $3,760 or more of insurable earnings as a fisher in the qualifying period Footnote 1 .

The exception to this is when a fisher has accumulated a violation on a previous claim. Violations range from minor to subsequent with a related increase in the insurable earnings from fishing, required to qualify for benefitsFootnote 2.

The maximum number of weeks of regular fishing benefits combined with special benefits is limited to 50. The only exception is when fishing benefits and extended parental benefits are paid in the initial benefit period, as explained in Chapter 15.7.0. When regular benefits were not paid, fishers are entitled to receive special benefits to a maximum of 102 weeks depending on the types of special benefits combined in a benefit periodFootnote 3.

The new rules Footnote 4 put in place pursuant to the implementation of the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan on January 1, 2006, also apply to fishing claims.

[ September 2006 ]

13.3.2 During a labour dispute

Under the EI legislation, a claimant who is subject to a disentitlement because he/she lost his/her job or could not return to work because of a labour dispute Footnote 5 at his or her place of employment may have that disentitlement suspended Footnote 6 in order to receive parental benefits, subject to proving entitlement to parental benefit.

Before the disentitlement can be suspended, the claimant who would otherwise be entitled to parental benefits were it not for the labour dispute, must prove that his or her absence from work was foreseen and that arrangements with the employer to be off work to care for an expected or adoptive child had begun before the start of the labour dispute Footnote 7 .

The disentitlement imposed as a result of a labour dispute could not be suspended in the case of a woman who, during the work stoppage, is entitled to receive benefits from the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan; as a general rule, this woman cannot otherwise prove that she is entitled to EI maternity or parental benefits Footnote 8 .

Claimants on parental leave when a stoppage of work occurs are not caught by the provisions relative to labour disputes. However, there may be disentitlement where the parental leave period ends if the woman is unable to resume his or her previous employment by reason of a stoppage of work attributable to a labour dispute Footnote 9 .

13.3.3 During the teaching and non-teaching period

Teachers may receive EI parental benefits during both the teaching and non-teaching period Footnote 10 provided all entitlement criteria for the payment of parental benefits is met.

The new rules Footnote 11 in force since January 1, 2006, as a result of the implementation of the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan apply in context; they specify, among other things, that a person who is entitled under a provincial plan to receive benefits in respect of a birth or an adoption is generally disentitled from receiving EI maternity or parental benefits Footnote 12 .

13.3.4 While disqualified or disentitled

A disqualification or certain disentitlements will not prevent the payment of EI parental benefits because the Act provides for the deferral Footnote 13 or suspension Footnote 14 of any disqualification and for the suspension of certain disentitlements Footnote 15 during the period that the claimant is in receipt of parental benefits.

13.3.5 While outside Canada

A claimant in receipt of EI parental benefits is not disentitled solely for being out of the country unless their SIN has expired Footnote 16 . This means that the claimant who is not in Canada may be entitled to parental benefits when his or her reason for being away from work is to care for the child, and being outside the country is secondary to that fact.

As stated earlier Footnote 17 , "to care for a child" should not be interpreted rigidly; each case should be decided on its own merit, having care for the intent of the legislation which is to allow a parent to be away from work to care for the child.

13.3.6 While attending a course or other employment activity

EI parental benefits were specifically designed to allow a parent to be away from work to care for a child and as long as this situation exists parental benefits are payable. However, an individual claiming parental benefits is not expected to cease all regular activity and simply remain at home to care for the child. As long as the parent is providing for the needs of the child, it is acceptable to attend a course of instruction or other employment activity while in receipt of parental benefits, as availability is not a factor in determining entitlement to receive parental benefits. The individual can still be considered to be taking care of their child when she/he does so outside the hours of this other activity. However when the claimant's reason for not working is not, or ceases to be, to care for the child, entitlement to parental benefits is not proven and the claimant may be subject to a disentitlement Footnote 18 . The circumstances of each case must be considered individually.

There are situations where it may be determined that a claimant is not meeting the condition of caring for the child. An example of this would be where a father leaves the child with the mother in Ottawa and moves to Vancouver to attend a course, thereby not seeing the child for months. The father in that case would have a difficult time proving he was taking care of the child within the meaning of the Act. Again, each case must be determined on its own merit.

[ November 2003 ]

13.3.7 While on jury service

Under the EI program, individuals called for jury service while in receipt of unemployment benefits may become engaged in jury service and continue to be entitled to benefit Footnote 19 .

A claimant who will be on jury service for a full week or more while in receipt of parental benefits may request regular benefits for the period in question and defer the parental benefits to the end of the jury service. Of course to receive parental benefits at that point the claimant would still have to be within the applicable 53 or 79-week windows and there must be weeks remaining on the claim, that is, the claim has not been exhausted either by entitlement or by duration.

When only part of the week Footnote 20 is spent on jury service parental benefits may be payable. Each case must be decided on its own merits.

[ September 2006 ]

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