Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles - Chapter 3 - Section 3

3.3.0 Reasons for a delay in filing

The reasons put forth by claimants as good cause for a delay in filing fall into a number of categories, such as: an expectation of receipt of other benefits or employment, missing record of employment, ignorance of the law, inadequate information or misinformation from the Commission, the employer, or a third party.

The reason for the delay does not by itself prove good cause; rather it is the actions that the claimant took to resolve the situation that will be considered. The circumstances surrounding the reason provided and the claimant's efforts to resolve the issue need to be understood before a determination of whether or not good cause exists. The agent must therefore examine all of the factors related to the reason provided by the claimant to justify the delay.

Consideration must be given to the length of the delay, the credibility of the claimant's statement, what, how, and from whom the claimant inquired, attempts the claimant made to resolve the situation, etc. (FCA A-011-10, CUB 73609).

In the end, the decision as to whether or not good cause exists, regardless of the reasons provided , is based on whether or not the claimant acted as a reasonable person in their situation would have done to satisfy themselves as their rights and responsibilities under the act (FCA A-0154-11, FCA A-481-07 and FCA A-644-93)

3.3.1 Timeliness

It is not possible to set a time limit beyond which good cause cannot be proven, because individual circumstances must always be considered. The claimant must provide a satisfactory explanation for not filing in a timely manner and for not inquiring promptly (FCA A-549-92). Even when a claimant's reason for delay is not in doubt, a reasonable person should feel prompted to contact the proper authorities and inquire about possible action when, for example, attempts to obtain the record of employment are unsuccessful. Circumstances around what the claimant did must show that efforts were made to resolve the problem.

A slightly more lenient approach is applicable when the claim is one for special benefits (maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, or family caregiver benefits) (FCA A-539-12 and FCA A-216-93), as these claimants are not required to prove availability, and there is not the same potential for prejudice to the Commission. The same holds true for those cases where the claimant delays filing due to receipt of severance pay. It is not unreasonable for these individuals to conclude that severance pay will preclude payment of EI benefits, nor is it reasonable for them to fully understand the implications on their benefit period.

3.3.2 Expecting other employment

Choosing to seek employment rather than submit a claim immediately, while commendable, is not by itself good cause for a delay in filing (FCA A-549-92). The question to decide is whether the claimant's decision not to make a claim for benefits on an earlier date was reasonable under the circumstances. The degree of assurance of other employment is an important factor, as the mere possibility of employment might fall short of good cause.

3.3.3 Expecting other moneys

A person may refrain from making a claim for benefits because of an expectation that they were to receive other moneys, for example, worker's compensation payments (FCA A-281-11), a weekly indemnity under a group wage loss plan, or compensation as a result of a grievance (FCA A-360-95 and FCA A-509-94). Once again the question to decide is whether the claimant's decision not to make a claim for benefits any earlier was reasonable under the circumstances. The degree of assurance is an important factor, as the mere possibility that compensation might be forthcoming does not amount to good cause.

3.3.4 No record of employment

It is standard procedure to advise claimants verbally and in ESDC publications, not to delay in filing their claim pending receipt of their record of employment (FCA A-268-94). Therefore, when the reason provided by the claimant is that they did not have their record of employment, the claimant must show that they did what a reasonable person in similar circumstances would have done. Simply thinking that the record of employment and the application for benefit must be submitted at the same time and failing to inquire to verify this assumption cannot be considered good cause.

3.3.5 Prevented from applying

Where a claimant is truly prevented from applying for benefits at an earlier date, good cause for the delay exists. All circumstances of the case must be taken into account, keeping in mind as previously explained, that a more lenient approach may be applicable in the case of special benefits (FCA A-1283-92 and FCA A-223-12). Where the delay appears to be attributable more to negligence than to a real obstacle that could not be overcome, good cause is not present (FCA A-0106-10, FCA A-038-95 and FCA A-706-94).

3.3.6 Alleged erroneous information from the Commission

Because the Commission is the authoritative source for information in matters of EI benefits, it follows that misinformation received from this very source may amount to good cause for delay in making a claim for benefits. It is important to obtain an account of the inquiry and the information received from the claimant. The decision as to good cause is based on the credibility and reasonableness of the explanations, and the action taken as a consequence of the information received or allegedly received. It must be emphasized however, that errors by Commission staff cannot give a person a right to benefits where there is no right under the legislation (FCA A-562-12 and FCA A-1498-84).

3.3.7 Alleged erroneous information from a third party

It is not uncommon or unreasonable for persons to seek information from a third party (FCA A-360-95, FCA A-1261-83 and FCA A-108-76) who, by virtue of that person's office or employment, could be regarded as experienced and knowledgeable, and from whom the claimant could anticipate accurate information, for example, a payroll advisor, union representative, employer, etc. The decision as to good cause is based on the credibility and reasonableness of the explanations, and the action taken as a consequence of the information received or allegedly received.

3.3.8 Persons incarcerated and later not found guilty

The fact that a person was incarcerated may be good cause for delay in applying for benefits. This applies to claimants who were incarcerated and later not found guilty of the offence(s) that led to their incarceration. As with any antedate request, the claimant must show good cause for every day of delay. Gaps between their release date and the date of application for benefits must be addressed individually.

[January 2019]

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