Evidence of meeting #50 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was commission.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Paul Thompson  Assistant Deputy Minister, Processing and Payment Services Branch, Service Canada
  • Éric Giguère  Director, Employment Insurance Appeal Division, Service Canada

March 22nd, 2011 / 11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Thank you for being here today to provide us with information.

I expect that since you are here, you will be able to answer most of the questions raised by witnesses on March 3. Among these questions there are a certain number that are particularly compelling and require answers.

Let us take the example of a situation where a work conflict has been settled but where certain employees do not return to work on the prescribed date because of certain provisions in the back-to-work agreement. According to a standard that was established—we do not really know by whom—as long as 85% of workers have not returned to work, the conflict is considered still active. That is why the commission refuses to grant benefits. Where does that standard come from?

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Processing and Payment Services Branch, Service Canada

Paul Thompson

I think that you are referring to the initial decision of the commission on eligibility to benefits.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Indeed.

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Processing and Payment Services Branch, Service Canada

Paul Thompson

We have guidelines to support the decision-making of frontline workers.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Who came up with those guidelines?

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Processing and Payment Services Branch, Service Canada

Paul Thompson

I don't know exactly what guidelines you...

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Could you find that out and send us the answer?

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Processing and Payment Services Branch, Service Canada

Paul Thompson

Perhaps my colleague Mr. Giguère could do so.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

The guideline states that the conflict is not considered to have been settled as long as 85% of workers have not returned to work.

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Processing and Payment Services Branch, Service Canada

Paul Thompson

I imagine that this is an issue that is related more closely to employment insurance policies; it is not related to the administration of appeals.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

You could check that. However, for the unemployed person, for the person who has not returned to work, it is more than an administrative matter: it is a matter of survival.

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Processing and Payment Services Branch, Service Canada

Paul Thompson

This is a policy-related matter and that is not my purview.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

So, you could check on this.

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Processing and Payment Services Branch, Service Canada

Paul Thompson

I am responsible for the administration of the appeals system.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

In certain cases, we have seen that when the Board of Referees hands down a decision favourable to the worker, sometimes the commission appeals the decision to the umpire.

We know that when that appeal is filed 21 days or more after the decision date, the claimant can receive benefits. If this is done before that 21-day period has elapsed, the claimant is not entitled to benefits. Is that correct? Are you aware that the commission has filed appeals before those 21 days have passed, in several cases? And when the hearing before the umpire comes up, the commission withdraws its appeal and the effect of that is that it deprives the claimant of benefits during that entire period.

Are you aware of that? Do you think this procedure should be corrected?