Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles  Chapter 23 - Section 5

23.5.0 Attending a course of instruction

Compassionate care benefits are payable to an eligible claimant who is providing care or support to a family member who has a serious medical condition, with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks.

However, an individual claiming these benefits is not expected to cease all other activity. As long as the eligible claimant is providing the necessary care or support to the family member, and depending on the number of hours devoted to the course of instruction, it is acceptable to attend a course of instruction on the claimant’s own initiative, while in receipt of compassionate care benefits, as availability for work is not a factor in determining entitlement to receive these benefits.

The individual can still be considered to be providing care or support to a gravely ill family member when doing so outside the hours of another activity. The fact that a claimant may not be providing direct care while devoting time to the course of instruction, does not mean that the claimant will automatically be denied benefits. However when the claimant's reason for not working is not, or ceases to be, to care for the gravely ill family member, entitlement to compassionate care benefits is not proven, and the claimant may be subject to a disentitlement. The circumstances of each case must be considered individually.

There may be situations where it may be determined that a claimant is not meeting the condition of providing care or support to the gravely ill family member. An example of this would be where the brother who requested and is receiving compassionate care benefits, leaves the gravely ill family member to the care of someone else in Ottawa, and relocates temporarily to Vancouver for a few weeks, to attend a course, thereby no longer providing care and support to the gravely ill parent for these weeks. In that case, it would be difficult for the claimant to prove he was providing care or support to the gravely ill family member, within the meaning of the Act. Again, each case must be determined on its own merits.

23.5.1 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". Generally it is assumed that claimants who are collecting compassionate care benefits are on a leave of absence from their employment, and would not be "unemployed workers" as they have a job to return to. Generally, referrals to an approved course or employment activity under Section 25 of the EI Act would not be made for these claimants.

See Chapter 19.2.6 of the Digest for more information on entitlement to compassionate care 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, to provide care and support to a gravely ill family member.

[ July 2014 ]

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