Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles   Chapter 6 - Section 2

6.2.0 Legislative authority

All authority related to the Commission's treatment of voluntary leaving can be found in the EI Act and Regulations. While sections 29 and 30 of the Act are those that are primarily seen when adjudicating cases of voluntary leaving, the following list shows other related sections of the Act and Regulations.

EI Act

Subsection 29(a) and Paragraph (b.1) - defines employment and voluntary leaving employment. (Subsection 2(1) also defines employment).

Subsection 29(c) - describes specific conditions in which just cause for voluntary leaving an employment may exist.

Subsection 30(1) - provides the Commission with the authority to impose a disqualification for voluntary leaving without just cause unless

  1. the claimant has, since losing or leaving the employment, been employed in insurable employment for the number of hours required by section 7 or 7.1 to qualify to receive benefits; or
  2. the claimant is disentitled under sections 31 to 33 in relation to the employment.

Subsection 30(2) - defines the length of the disqualification.

Subsection 30(3) - explains that a disqualification is not retroactive.

Subsection 30(4) - provides the Commission with the authority to suspend a disqualification during any week for which the claimant is otherwise entitled to special benefits.

Subsection 32(1) - provides the Commission with the authority to impose a disentitlement for a leave of absence without just cause.

Subsection 32(2) - provides details on the duration of disentitlement pursuant to 32(1) and the conditions that will serve to end it.

Section 33 - provides the Commission with the authority to consider a disentitlement when a claimant leaves their employment without just cause within three weeks of an anticipated loss of employment.

Section 34 - provides the Commission with the authority to suspend a disentitlement under sections 31 to 33 for any week in which the claimant is otherwise entitled to special benefits.

Subsection 49(2) - provides the Commission with the authority to give the benefit of the doubt to the claimant if the evidence submitted by the claimant and the employer is different but equally credible.

Section 51 - states it is the Commission's responsibility to give both the claimant and the employer the opportunity to provide information as to the reasons for the loss of employment in order to gather the facts necessary to make a decision.

EI Regulations

Subsection 51(1) - allows the Commission to pay benefits when a claimant left their employment in accordance with an employer work-force reduction process.

Subsection 51(2) - defines an employer work-force reduction process.

Section 51.1 - defines the “other reasonable circumstances” indicated in subparagraph 29(c)(xiv) of the Act.

6.2.1 Effect of a disqualification

When all the facts have been collected and documented and the adjudicator has made the decision that the voluntary leaving was without just cause, an indefinite disqualification is applied to prevent payment of employment insurance benefits.

An indefinite disqualification begins with the week in which the voluntary leaving occurred if the claimant has an ongoing claim or the benefit period commencement on a new claim and continues for the length of the claim unless the claimant meets one of the conditions of relief listed below. An indefinite disqualification can be modified, suspended or rescinded but never terminated.

6.2.2 Relief from disqualification

Special benefits

When a claimant is disqualified from receiving benefits for voluntarily leaving an employment without just cause, the disqualification can be suspended during any week for which the claimant is otherwise entitled to special benefits (maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care or family caregiver) Footnote 1 .

When a claimant receives relief from a disqualification, it is still present but is suspended while the situation that gives relief is present.

Hours worked after disqualifying event

If, since the voluntary leaving without just cause, a claimant has accumulated a sufficient number of hours of insurable employment to establish a claim, a new benefit period can be established free of disqualification Footnote 2 .

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