Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 24 - Section 20

24.20.0 Claim cancellation/termination

24.20.1 Introduction

When a benefit period or a portion of a benefit period is cancelled, it is as if it had not existed Footnote 1 .

The Commission may cancel a benefit period that has terminated provided that no benefit was paid or was payable Footnote 2 .

At the request of the claimant, the Commission may also cancel a portion of a benefit period which precedes the first week for which benefits had been paid or payable provided the following two conditions are met: the claimant establishes a new benefit period commencing the first week for which benefits were paid or payable and, the claimant shows good cause for the delay in making the request throughout the period commencing on the day when benefit was first paid or payable and ending on the day when the request for cancellation was made. It is irrelevant whether the benefit period for which cancellation is requested has terminated or not Footnote 3 .

The Commission must inform the claimant of the advantages as well as disadvantages related to such a cancellation. Nevertheless, this must be treated in the same manner as requests for early termination Footnote 4 , that is, the claimant must not be influenced and it is the claimant who must decide what action to take.

It may happen that benefits were paid during a benefit period although they were subsequently found not to be payable and now the overpayment must be reimbursed. In such a case where cancellation of that benefit period has been requested, it may be granted. In one case where the benefits were payable but had not been received, it had been decided that the cancellation could be granted Footnote 5 . In view of this judgment as well as the interpretation that may be given to the legislative text Footnote 6 the Commission will acquiesce to a request for cancellation by a claimant who finds him or herself in such a situation.

In the context of the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP), a principle of equivalence has been established that extends to benefits paid under a provincial plan a recognition that is similar to maternity or parental benefits paid under the EI program. A regulatory provision made on January 1, 2011, provides that provincial benefits such as QPIP benefits paid to an employed person Footnote 7 or to a self-employed person Footnote 8 in respect of a week in a benefit period are considered to be benefits paid in respect of a week under the Act if the person would have qualified for the corresponding type of benefits under the Act Footnote 9 . Accordingly, when questioning for a claim cancellation or termination, this principle of equivalence shall be taken into consideration as long as QPIP benefits paid are being considered equivalent to EI benefits.

24.20.2 Claim termination

As discussed earlier, the maximum number of weeks of self-employment special benefits that may be paid in a benefit period will vary, depending on one's eligibility for the type(s) of special benefits sought. The length of the benefit period itself , without any extensions, is 52 weeks, which includes the waiting period, if it is to be served, during which no benefits are payable.

Unless the benefit period is extended Footnote 10 , during this 52-week period, a claimant could receive the maximum number of weeks of benefit to which they are entitled. No entitlement exists once these 52 weeks have elapsed Footnote 11 , even if the claimant has not received the maximum number of weeks payable. The claim will terminate.

Where the claimant has received all the special benefits to which they are entitled before the 52 weeks have elapsed, for example after 15 weeks of sickness benefits were paid, the benefit period will not be terminated immediately after those weeks have paid, as other special benefits may become payable to the claimant within that 52-week (assuming no extensions were applied) period Footnote 12 .

Once the benefit period has terminated, it is up to the claimant to demonstrate that they meet the conditions required to establish a new benefit period.

24.20.2.1 Early termination

A claimant may request early termination of the benefit period for the purpose of establishing a new one immediately. This course of action may be advantageous when, for example the benefit rate could become higher with a new claim. It could also be to a claimant's advantage where further sickness benefits were sought, beyond the maximum 15 weeks available per claim. If a claimant was still ill after maximum sickness benefits were paid, and could establish another claim (using a new qualifying period), further sickness benefits could be paid Footnote 13 . ESDC must inform the claimant of the advantages and disadvantages related to such a termination (including taking into account the waiting period which may have to be served with a new claim) and also of the consequences of this decision, so that an informed decision can be made. ESDC must not decide for the claimant nor influence their decision. This decision must be taken by the claimant and is final even though it may later prove to be a disadvantage Footnote 14 . What may be advantageous at one point in time could very well be different in the future Footnote 15 .

Where the claimant requests an early termination of the benefit period, the request will be granted provided that the claimant makes a new initial claim and fulfills the conditions to establish a new benefit period Footnote 16 . In such case, the benefit period is terminated on the Saturday preceding the commencement of the new benefit period Footnote 17 . If no benefits were paid or payable during that period which was terminated, then the benefit period may be cancelled Footnote 18 .

The claimant's request to terminate an established benefit period is to be considered as having been made at an earlier date if the claimant shows that good cause existed for his or her delay in making that request. Good cause must exist throughout the elapsed period between that earlier date and the date the request was made. It is irrelevant whether the said benefit period has terminated or not Footnote 19 , Furthermore, it is irrelevant whether benefits have been paid after the effective date of the early termination. In such a case, there will be an adjustment in the payment of benefits. As well, because that portion of the benefit period which precedes the effective date of the early termination will become a terminated benefit period, it may be cancelled if no benefits were paid or payable during that period Footnote 20 . It is possible to retroactively terminate an established benefit period. In order to determine whether the claimant's reasons for the delay constitute good cause, the principles concerning antedating, as found in a separate chapter within the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Footnote 21 , are to be followed. Jurisprudence has held that good cause is simply doing what a reasonable person would do to satisfy themselves as to their rights and obligations under the Act Footnote 22 .

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