Short form notice: EI Sickness Benefits class action

[Short form notice]

Legal notice

Did you apply for, and were denied, a conversion of parental benefits to sickness benefits under the Employment Insurance Act?

A proposed settlement may affect you. Please read this notice carefully.

The Federal Government of Canada (“Canada”) and Jennifer McCrea of Calgary, Alberta (the “Representative Plaintiff”) have reached a proposed settlement in a class action lawsuit.

What is this class action about?

This lawsuit alleges that during the period from March 3, 2002 to March 23, 2013, officials with Service Canada and the Canada Employment Insurance Commission were negligent in denying sickness benefits to individuals who were in receipt of parental leave benefits under the Employment Insurance Act (“EI Act”) and were ill, injured, or in quarantine during their parental leave. Canada is defending this action.

The Federal Court certified this class action on May 7, 2015, which means that it is permitted to proceed to trial as a class action. This case has not yet gone to trial and there has been no judicial decision made on the merits of this lawsuit.

The certified class action seeks a declaration that the EI Act was administered negligently, and damages.

The Representative Plaintiff is represented by Cavalluzzo LLP (“Class Counsel”).

The proposed settlement must first be approved by the Federal Court before there is any compensation available to members of the class.

Who is included?

The proposed settlement provides for monetary compensation to the following individuals (“Class Members”):

All persons who, during the period from March 3, 2002 to, and including, March 23, 2013:

  • i. Applied for and were paid parental benefits under the EI Act or corresponding types of benefits under Quebec’s An Act Respecting Parental Insurance;
  • ii. Suffered from an illness, injury or quarantine while in receipt of parental benefits;
  • iii. Applied for sickness benefits in respect of the illness, injury or quarantine referred to in ii; and
  • iv. Were denied a conversion of parental benefits to sickness benefits because:
    • a) the person was not otherwise available for work; or
    • b) the person had not previously received at least one week of sickness benefits during the benefit period in which the parental benefits were received.

A person is also a Class Member where they applied to convert to sickness benefits while in receipt of maternity benefits if the illness, injury or quarantine continued into the parental portion of their benefit period.

Estates of Class Members may be eligible. A claim must be filed by the Estate Executor for deceased class members.

If the settlement is approved, all Class Members except those who validly “Opt Out” or are deemed to have opted out of the settlement will be bound by the proposed settlement, will be covered by the releases in the proposed settlement, and will not have the right to sue Canada for alleged harm caused by denied conversion of parental benefits to sickness benefits under the EI Act during the class period from March 3, 2002 to March 23, 2013.

What does the proposed settlement provide?

If approved, the settlement provides:

  • a) Class Members who establish that they applied for sickness benefits for an illness, injury, or quarantine during their parental leave, and were denied, are eligible for compensation.
  • b) ESDC will determine the amount of your payment. Canada has agreed to make payments to eligible Class Members in an amount that is equivalent to the amount of sickness benefits that they would otherwise have received.

How do I get any money?

The proposed settlement must be approved by the Federal Court. If it is approved, you may make a claim for money. To do so, you must complete a Claim Form and send it to ESDC during the Claims Period. More information on how to make a claim will be available in a further notice if the proposed settlement is approved.

How much money will I get?

The amount of compensation that you receive will depend on your weekly EI benefit rate and the number of weeks you were ill, injured, or in quarantine while in receipt of parental benefits from March 3, 2002 to March 23, 2013. The details are explained in the proposed Settlement Agreement. A copy of the proposed Settlement Agreement is available online at: www.cavalluzzo.com

Class Counsel are also seeking approval of legal fees and disbursements in the amount of $2,212,389, together with applicable taxes thereon. The legal fees will be paid by Canada in addition to the compensation paid to eligible Class Members. The Federal Court will decide if the amount of the legal fees is fair and reasonable.

What if I agree or do not agree with the proposed settlement?

Class members may participate in the settlement approval hearing. If you do not agree with the proposed settlement, you have two options:

  • 1. Participate to Support or Object to the Settlement in writing:

You may mail or email a letter that includes your name, address and telephone number and explain why you support or object to the proposed settlement. You may also use the Objection Form which can be found at: www.cavalluzzo.com. You must mail or email your letter or Objection Form on or before November 15, 2018 to: EI Sickness Benefits Class Action, c/o Cavalluzzo LLP, 474 Bathurst Street, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2S6, or to: EIsicknesscase@cavalluzzo.com

  • 2. Participate to Support or Object to the Settlement in person at the approval hearing:

You may attend the Federal Court at 180 Queen Street West, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3L6, on December 3 and 4, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. each day, to participate in the settlement approval hearing and voice your support or concerns. If you wish to object in person, you must mail or email an Objection Form in writing on or before November 15, 2018 to: EI Sickness Benefits Class Action, c/o Cavalluzzo LLP, 474 Bathurst Street, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2S6, or to: EIsicknesscase@cavalluzzo.com

What if I do nothing?

If you do not object in writing or in person and the settlement is approved, you will be bound by the terms of the settlement whether you file a claim or not, unless you opt out before the Opt Out Deadline. There will be no other opportunity to object or commence any proceeding.

If you have commenced a legal proceeding against Canada relating to denied conversion of parental benefits to sickness benefits under the EI Act from March 3, 2002 to March 23, 2013, and you do not discontinue it on or before the Opt Out Deadline, you will be deemed to have Opted Out of the settlement.

Where can I find out more information?

Visit www.cavalluzzo.com, https://www.facebook.com/M.O.M.lawsuit/ or call 1-844-964-5559 (toll free in Canada) or 416-964-5559.

You can also read the long form notice on the proposed settlement of the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits class action.

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