Social Security Tribunal of Canada

EI General Division: Your reasons for appealing

If you agree with everything in the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC)’s reconsideration decision, there’s no reason to appeal. If you disagree with the decision, even just a part of it, you can appeal to the Social Security Tribunal (SST).

You have 30 days to appeal after you receive the reconsideration decision.

If you appeal, then change your mind, you can withdraw (cancel) your appeal. If you do this, the CEIC’s reconsideration decision will remain valid.

Here are some examples of things the SST can make a decision on:

Scenario 1

Peter quit his job and applied for Employment Insurance (EI).  The CEIC decided not to pay Peter EI. It said he had other options besides quitting. He could have talked to his employer or an outside agency about his work concerns. Or he could have stayed at his job until he found a new one.

If you quit your job, you may not get EI. The law says you have to have “just cause” to quit. If you have just cause to quit, it means you didn’t have any other reasonable option.

Peter agrees he quit his job, but he disagrees with the CEIC when it says he could have tried other options before quitting.

If Peter decides to appeal, he can explain why he didn’t actually have the options the CEIC suggested or why he feels those weren’t reasonable options. He can explain what he did try to do to solve his work concerns before quitting.

Scenario 2

Ayesha was denied EI. The CEIC says she wasn’t available for work. It said she wasn’t doing enough to look for work, and, when she was looking for work, her search was too limited because of restrictions she placed on herself.

The law says you need to be capable of work and be available for work to get EI. Being available for work means

  • you want to go back to work as soon as you’re offered a suitable job
  • you’re making efforts to find a suitable job, even if you don’t think you have a good chance of finding one
  • you haven’t restricted yourself in a way that might unduly (in other words, overly) limit your chances of going back to work

Ayesha feels she’s worked hard at trying to get a job. She didn’t just wait to be called back to work by her old employer.

If Ayesha decides to appeal, she can show the SST all the jobs she’s applied for, including some she didn’t tell the CEIC about. She also feels that the conditions she set on finding a job didn’t prevent her from finding work.

Here are some examples of things the SST cannot make a decision on:

Scenario 1

Amir got EI. A few months later, he got a severance payment from his employer. The CEIC decided that he had been overpaid in EI and that he had to pay some of it back. Amir agrees with the overpayment amount, but he doesn’t think he should have to pay it back. He can’t afford to right now because he still hasn’t found a new job. He wants the overpayment to be written off.

The law says the SST doesn’t have the authority to decide whether Amir’s overpayment can be written off. We can’t tell the CEIC to write off the overpayment. But Amir can ask the CEIC to write off the debt. 

Scenario 2

Charlotte applied for EI. The CEIC told her that she’d get it. But she hasn’t been paid yet and wants to hurry things up. So she wants to appeal to the SST.

We can’t speed up EI payments. We don’t have the power to give Charlotte what she’s asking for.

Also, we don’t have to uphold the decision the CEIC made about Charlotte’s EI application. We are independent from the CEIC. This means that, if Charlotte appeals the CEIC decision to pay her EI and her appeal goes to a hearing, the SST could actually change the CEIC’s decision, and Charlotte may end up with no EI after all.

What if you don’t have a “reasonable chance of success”

If you appeal, an SST member will look at your case and the documents you send us. A member is the decision-maker in an appeal. They have to look at your situation and see what the law says about it. They can’t change the law. They have to follow what it says.

A member will consider whether your appeal has a “reasonable chance of success.” That means the member will consider whether you have an argument that could possibly succeed. If they think you do, they’ll want to hear more about it in a hearing.

If the member says you don’t have a reasonable chance of success, they may start the summary dismissal process.

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