Section 6: Rights and responsibilities

The EI program guarantees certain rights. There are also some basic responsibilities, for both you and Service Canada.

What are my rights?

As a claimant of EI benefits, you have rights and responsibilities.

Your right to request a reconsideration of a decision

If you disagree with the decision regarding your application for EI benefits, you have the right to request a reconsideration.

Can my employer contest a decision concerning my EI benefits application?

Yes. If we decide to pay you benefits even if you quit, were fired for misconduct, refused work, or are involved in a labour dispute, we will notify your employer. If an employer believes that our decision is not justified, he or she can request a reconsideration of that decision.

What are Service Canada's responsibilities?

At Service Canada, we are responsible for:

  • giving you prompt and courteous service;
  • advising you of the programs and services that are available to you;
  • serving you in the official language of your choice;
  • determining if you are eligible to receive benefits—that is, whether or not you meet the qualifying conditions specified in the Employment Insurance Act and Regulations—and determining how many weeks of benefits you can receive;
  • processing all claims within the same timeframe;
  • issuing your first payment no later than 28 days after the date we receive your application, if you have provided us with all the required information and if you are eligible for benefits;
  • giving you accurate information about your claim, including how you can share parental benefits with your EI-eligible spouse or partner, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits with other EI-eligible family members, and whether or not you will need to serve a one-week waiting period; and
  • letting you know about decisions we've made about your claim and explaining the process to follow if you disagree with a decision.

What are my responsibilities?

When you apply for regular benefits, including fishing benefits, you must:

  • be capable of and available for work and unable to obtain suitable employment;
  • actively search for and accept offers of suitable employment;
  • conduct job search activities that increase your opportunities to find suitable employment, such as:
    • assessing employment opportunities;
    • preparing a résumé or cover letter;
    • registering for job search tools or with electronic job banks or employment agencies;
    • attending job search workshops or job fairs;
    • networking;
    • contacting prospective employers;
    • submitting job applications;
    • attending interviews;
    • undergoing evaluations of competencies.
  • keep a detailed record as proof of your job search efforts to find suitable employment as we may ask you to provide that proof at any time. Therefore you must keep your job search record for 6 years;
  • let us know when you refuse any offers of employment;
  • report all periods when you are not available for work;
  • provide all the required information and documents;
  • keep your appointments with our office;
  • notify us of any separation from employment and the reasons for the separation;
  • report any absences from your area of residence and/or any absence from Canada;
  • report all employment, whether you work for someone else or yourself;
  • accurately report all employment earnings before deductions in the week(s) in which you earn them, as well as any other money you may receive.

You are not required to have employers sign your job search form or provide you with a letter confirming that you have applied for a job.

For more information on rights and responsibilities, see the publication called Rights and Responsibilities.

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