Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles   Chapter 15 - Section 9

15.9.0 Unemployment of fishers

Claimants who establish fishing claims are considered to be unemployed and available for work with respect to their fishing activities during the summer or winter benefit periods Footnote 1 .

For the purpose of the above, a person who is ordinarily a fisher does not cease to be a fisher while engaged in any of the incidental work referred to in the definition of "fisher" Footnote 2 , even though the person is not engaged in making an actual catch during that time Footnote 3 .

15.9.1 Disqualifications and disentitlements

Budget 2021 measures alert – Temporary measures are in place from September 26, 2021 to September 24, 2022 which affects the following information:

  • only the last reason for separation (employment before the initial claim for benefits with the latest last day paid) or any employment within the benefit period requires adjudication if the reason for separation is contentious

Fishers are required to accept suitable work in fishing when it is offered. Where there is no good cause for refusal, a disqualification may be imposed Footnote 4 for a number of weeks from 7 to 12 weeks. Any unserved portion of a disqualification will not be carried forward to a subsequent claim Footnote 5 .

An indefinite disqualification for misconduct or voluntarily leaving without just cause Footnote 6 does not apply when establishing a benefit period for a fisher Footnote 7 . Similarly, indefinite disentitlements for suspension (misconduct proven) authorized leave of absence (without just cause) and anticipated loss of employment are also not applicable when establishing a fishing claim.

Once a fishing claim has been established, a disqualification for an indefinite period Footnote 8 can apply during the fishing benefit period if the claimant voluntarily quits without just cause an employment other than in fishing or loses an employment other than in fishing by reason of misconduct during the benefit period. No disqualification is imposed for leaving or losing a self-employment Footnote 9 .

To not be disqualified for an indefinite period Footnote 10 during a fishing benefit period, the claimant must have accumulated, since the date of event, either the amount of insurable earnings in fishing employment that is required to qualify for fishing benefits or the amount of insurable earnings in non-fishing employment that is required to qualify for regular non-fishing benefits. In both cases, the fishing claim can then be renewed without the imposition of a disqualification until the claim expires.

Once a claimant is disqualified for an indefinite period Footnote 11 on a fishing claim, the claimant must meet the requalifying conditions for a new regular non-fishing claim or a new fishing claim. To re-qualify, the claimant must have accumulated, since the date of event, either the amount of insurable earnings in fishing employment that is required to qualify for fishing benefits or the number of insurable hours in non-fishing employment that is required to qualify for regular non-fishing benefits.

A previous indefinite disqualification on a regular non-fishing claim does not prevent the establishment of a fishing claim where the claimant has accumulated the amount of fishing insurable earnings required to qualify for a fishing claim and could not re-qualify on a regular non-fishing claim. The previous regular claim must then be cancelled or terminated. This situation is the only situation where a regular claim can be terminated in order to establish a fishing claim.

Disentitlements may be imposed on fishing claims when entitlement conditions are not met, for example, a fisher has not proven that they were available for fishing-related employment while attending school full-time Footnote 12 . Other entitlement conditions include the requirement to remain unemployed from non-fishing employment, participate in any referred training programs as required, remain in Canada, etc. For details with respect to entitlement conditions given particular situations when in receipt of fishing (regular or special) benefits, refer to the main subject chapters in this document Footnote 13 .

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