Over 30 Organizations from Across Canada call for a Fair EI Appeal Process

September 13, 2017

Information from Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC): In the spring of 2017, the federal government hired a company called KPMG to review the way that the appeals process works around Employment Insurance (EI) decisions. KPMG reported last week to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on its findings and recommendations, but the report is not yet public.

Over 30 organizations from across Canada, including ISAC, have endorsed an Open Letter calling on the Government of Canada to restore fairness to the Employment Insurance (EI) appeal process. You can read the letter in French and English here.

What are the problems with the EI appeal process?

Employment Insurance is an essential program for making sure workers can continue to provide for themselves and their families when they lose their jobs. If their applications for benefits are turned down, workers must have access to a fast and easy way to have the decision reviewed, so that they aren’t forced to go into debt or rely on social assistance while they wait.

Before 2013, the appeal process was fast and simple. Appeals could be heard within weeks at the Board of Referees, where cases were heard by three people: representatives for workers, employers and the community. A worker who was dissatisfied with the result could then appeal to an “Umpire.”

In 2013, the Social Security Tribunal was introduced under the guise of generating savings. It hears appeals about several very different programs: Employment Insurance, Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan. It was supposed to streamline the process and lead to faster and better decisions.

Read more: Over 30 Organizations from Across Canada call for a Fair EI Appeal Process