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

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

So ultimately it rests with the department?

11:35 a.m.

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

Paul Thompson

It rests with the commission. It's a separate legal entity.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Understood, but I'm just trying to figure it out. We're doing this study and we're going to make recommendations. I assume we would make them to the commission, but is the commission an entity that reports to the department?

11:35 a.m.

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

Paul Thompson

It doesn't report to the department. It is a separate legal entity that has delegated some of its responsibilities to the department to exercise.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

I'm trying to figure out why we're looking at this and having you here if it's the commission that we should be dealing with. That's what I'm wondering. You're telling me that you guys are really at arm's length.

11:35 a.m.

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

Paul Thompson

We have administrative responsibilities to support the appeals process, so a certain number of the performance indicators—

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

So we do have the authority to have an influence on the commission?

11:35 a.m.

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

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Okay.

We also heard about the length of time for this process. You've addressed some of that, but can you give us some statistics on the length of time to complete the process and whether that varies regionally across the country?

11:35 a.m.

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

Paul Thompson

I don't have regional statistics available; are you're speaking about a board of referees hearing or an umpire? The motion, as I—

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Just take us through the whole process for somebody who wants to appeal an EI judgment.

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Candice Bergen

Let me just interrupt.

Once the decision is made, Mr. Savage, by the employment insurance board of referees, the appeal is to the umpire. Is that correct?

11:35 a.m.

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

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Candice Bergen

So that's what you would please refer to, because that's what our study is about.

11:35 a.m.

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

Paul Thompson

After a board of referees arrives at a decision, if that decision is not favourable to the client, the client has 60 days to file an appeal to the umpire.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

The client has 60 days.

11:40 a.m.

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

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Okay.

What about the idea that the boards of referees themselves—I'm looking at a recommendation that was made to our committee—could be better supported through the submission of files, which are quite often incomplete? There are high turnover rates, delays, and things like that. Do you have any comment on that?

11:40 a.m.

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

Paul Thompson

We have service standards for supporting the hearings. It is the department's role to prepare the dockets or the files so that the board can arrive at its decision, so it's the department's role to enable the board to actually hold the hearing. That is a role that the department undertakes. I mentioned some of the measures we've pursued to ensure that it happens in a timely fashion.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Candice Bergen

Thank you very much.

Mr. Lessard is next.

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

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc 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 Bloc 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 Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Who came up with those guidelines?