Federal government announces plan to create an Employment Insurance Board of Appeal

Ottawa say changes will create a 'more client-centric' process

Federal government announces plan to create an Employment Insurance Board of Appeal

The Government of Canada has introduced a bill to amend the Department of Employment and Social Development Act to create an Employment Insurance (EI) Board of Appeal to establish what it calls a more client-centric appeal process.

The EI program provides temporary income support to unemployed workers while they look for employment and special benefits to those who take time off work due to specific life events. Workers will only receive EI benefits if they have paid premiums and meet qualifying and entitlement conditions.

Under the bill, the EI Board of Appeal will operate as a tripartite tribunal representing the interests of government, workers, and employers, which would help “put first-level EI appeal decisions back into the hands of those who pay into the EI system.” The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) will oversee the tripartite organization.

According to the release, the creation of the EI Board of Appeal is considered a “significant reform to the EI recourse process.” Currently, the Social Security Tribunal of the EI General Division is responsible for hearing first-level EI appeals.

The government said it needed to be more responsive to the needs of Canadians following the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development’s third-party review of the Social Security Tribunal in 2017 and consultation with many stakeholder groups in 2022. These consultations paved the way for the proposal of an EI Board of Appeal.

“This is another step towards ensuring that Canadians are put at the heart of the appeals process,” Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough said. “Thank you to the many Canadians across the country and the labour and employer groups who helped shape today’s legislation. Your participation in the consultations has been essential to building an appeal process for Employment Insurance that is more responsive to the needs of workers from coast to coast to coast.”

If the government passes the bill, the Social Security Tribunal will continue to hear first-level EI appeals until an EI Board of Appeal is operational. There will also be a transition period where the new EI Board of Appeal and the Social Security Tribunal will be asked to run in parallel.

Meanwhile, second-level appeals will continue to be heard by the Appeal Division under the Social Security Tribunal.

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