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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

12:25 p.m.

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

Paul Thompson

I don't believe the declaration of a conflict is a measure that's tracked—

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Oh, nobody tracks it.

12:25 p.m.

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

Paul Thompson

—and monitored. The hearing is often just simply rescheduled, and the results are factored into the....

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

So somebody asks for an adjournment when he didn't have enough time or if it was a conflict of interest. Those would be the indicators. There may be the fact that they're involved.

Somebody should keep track of that stuff, I think. I'd surmise that it's more of an issue in some rural areas, where you have large employers or a single industry or something. I don't hear as much of these conflict-of-interest issues as some members across the way were reporting before.

Anyhow, I think that sums up my questions and comments.

Thank you very much.

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Candice Bergen

Okay, thank you.

There are a couple of minutes left. Is there anyone else on that side?

Mr. Martin, did you have another question?

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

No.

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Candice Bergen

All right.

Madame Beaudin, you had a question.

March 22nd, 2011 / 12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I am pleased because this is going to allow me to clarify one of the points in the information you sent us.

If someone applies for employment insurance and is denied benefits, this refusal occurs at the Employment Insurance Commission. Since benefits have been denied, the person appeals to the Board of Referees. At that stage, you told us, appeal files are sent by regular mail. The person does not receive his or her file by some other type of mail.

12:25 p.m.

Director, Employment Insurance Appeal Division, Service Canada

Éric Giguère

I think they are sent by Xpresspost.

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

So, priority post. When we were talking about the 10-day turnaround earlier, we were talking about documents being sent by priority post.

12:25 p.m.

Director, Employment Insurance Appeal Division, Service Canada

Éric Giguère

Yes, quite so.

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

So the person has 30 days to file an appeal before the Board of Referees. Who calls the person to provide the date of the hearing that will take place before the board? Is it the clerk of the committee?

12:25 p.m.

Director, Employment Insurance Appeal Division, Service Canada

Éric Giguère

Yes, it is the clerk of the Board of Referees.

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

The person meets an employment insurance agent and the claim is denied. At that point, who prepares the appeal file, the document that will be used for the defence before the Board of Referees?

12:25 p.m.

Director, Employment Insurance Appeal Division, Service Canada

Éric Giguère

The appeal document is sent to all of the parties involved...

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

So it is the Employment Insurance Commission that prepares this document.

12:25 p.m.

Director, Employment Insurance Appeal Division, Service Canada

Éric Giguère

It is not a document, in fact it's...

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

It is the information that is in the person's file with regard to the denied benefits. So it is the commission alone that prepares that document.

12:25 p.m.

Director, Employment Insurance Appeal Division, Service Canada

Éric Giguère

Normally, there is the application, the employment record from the employer and the cover memo.

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

The commission appoints the panel members that sit on the Board of Referees. It appoints the chairperson, who represents the commission. The commission also prepares all of the information. It conveys the information to the Board of Referees for the appellant's file.

Consequently, claimants are alone to defend their appeal in the presence of these three panel members.

12:25 p.m.

Director, Employment Insurance Appeal Division, Service Canada

Éric Giguère

One of the points is inaccurate. We do not appoint the members of the Board of Referees.

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

The commission does not appoint them?

12:25 p.m.

Director, Employment Insurance Appeal Division, Service Canada

Éric Giguère

No. That is independent and impartial. It is supposed to be...

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

The last time, witnesses told us that files often came late. Normally, there is a 10-day timeframe so that people can prepare to go before the board. But the time period is actually less: people only have six or seven days to prepare the file with the worker, rather than 10 days. It is not the fault of the clerk, since she waits for the information to come from the Employment Insurance Commission. This reduces the time. And that is the problem. Have you any solutions to propose that could correct this situation?

Also, a lot of workers do not go before the board alone. They have neither the knowledge nor the competence to represent themselves. So they must call on legal aid to obtain the services of a lawyer. There are also delays involved in that.

Is all that taken into account when people try to facilitate a worker's defence, to have someone represent him?

Does the clerk send the appeal file to the worker's representatives, or is the worker the only one to be called? Does the clerk also call the worker's lawyer or advocate so as to inform that person as well?

12:30 p.m.

Director, Employment Insurance Appeal Division, Service Canada

Éric Giguère

I am trying to remember.