Self Employment

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Business Owner - Not Employed

CUB 26138/A-707-94 - The Claimant was disqualified as he was found to have been self\employed. The claimant was a business owner of which he spent an average of 3-4 hours/week maintaining while holding full time employment outside of his business. The Umpire found that being a business owner does not mean you are self-employed. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Coyley Endicott Sr.
Date: 1994

CUB 59475 - The claimant is appealing the decision from the Board, dismissing her appeal from a Commission ruling that it could not pay her benefits as of September 2, 2002 because she was operating a business and therefore could not be considered as unemployed. In October 2001, the claimant incorporated a company which entered into a agreement to supply bookkeeping services. The Umpire allowed the appeal because he felt that the claimant's engagement in the operation was to such a minor extent that a person would not rely on it as a principal means of livelihood. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Suzanne N. Wilkinson
Date: 2004

CUB 70652 - Prior to losing his employment, the claimant was an engineering physicist who assembled and designed bikes as a part-time hobby about 20 to 30 hours a week. After losing his employment, he decided to devote his time to making the bike business work and devoted the same number of hours a week as he did when he was employed. In 2006, he incorporated a new company, but did not draw income. A substantial amount of time was spent on the company by the claimant, and the venture was ongoing in regards to the nature and amount of capital resources invested, but did not achieve financial success. While the claimant was receiving benefits, the claimant was engaged in the business. The claimant had been looking and was available for work, but the industry he was in was facing a downturn. Not until the claimant was not receiving unemployment benefits and was not employed did he decide to devote all of his time to the bike company. The bike company was not producing any income, and the claimant would have not been able to rely on the business as a primary means of livelihood. The penalty issue was dependant on the determination as to whether or not the claimant was self-employed. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Claimant
Date: 2008

Job Search - Availability

CUB 37491 - The Claimant is appealing the decision of the Board of Referees who stated that as a real estate agent he controlled his own working hours and was therefore not unemployed. Although the claimant had a real estate licence he was not actively engaged in any real estate business. At all times the claimant was searching for other types of employment. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Ramachandran Chinniah
Date: 1997

CUB 43528 - The Commission determined the claimant to be ineligible for benefits as he was not unemployed by working a full working week while employed in the operation of his own business and that he made 11 false or misleading statements for which the Commission imposed a penalty of $4,686. There was no evidence of substance to refute the claimant's contention that he spent two hours a day assisting his wife at the bed and breakfast operation which was also his home and that the work he performed is work he would normally provide in his home. The Board also commented that the claimant did not provide a job search. The evidence of the claimant is that he was always ready and willing to take employment and although he did not present a job search on paper he did say that he contacted other firms in the moving business. The Umpire said that the time spent by the claimant in the operation was minor in extent and to such minor extent that a person would not normally rely on that employment as a principal means of livelihood. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: William Tullett
Date: 1998

Minor in Extent

CUB 23158 - The claimant is a veterinarian. She was involved in a co-adventure with two other veterinarians, at which she worked 2 days per week (Mondays and Fridays). She was receiving no remuneration for this endeavour. It was found that the claimant fell within the exception set out in 43(2) in that her employment at the clinic was so minor in extent that it would not be followed as a principle means of livelihood and that she continued to work and seek remunerative work. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Debrah Berman
Date: 1994

CUB 37174 - The claimant was disqualified because he was found to be self employed. The umpire found that due to the fact that the claimant's activity in the business was so minor in extent, it could not be considered viable employment. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Jean-Claude Saumure
Date: 1997

CUB 44958 - The claimant advised the Commission that he had a part-time landscaping business which he had started about 3 years previously. The business was purely seasonal and operated from April to October. It had approximately $50,000 worth of equipment that had already been paid for. All of the income generated from the business was used as wages for employees as well as equipment maintenance, insurance and advertising. The Umpire said that " once it is established that a claimant is engaged in the operation of a business, it remains to be determined whether his involvement is so minor in extent that he would not normally follow it as a principal means of livelihood. See Schwenk CUB 5454. Whatever the status of the other factors (be it the capital invested or the success of the enterprise or the continuity of the business), they can never be relevant on their own, the conclusion in a particular case depends directly and necessarily on the " time spent" , since, is it necessary to repeat it, we are dealing here strictly with the notion of " full working week" . The entire premise upon which the Commission's determination and the Board's decision is based on the fact that the claimant owned a landscaping business and that he had some aspirations that it might, at some point in the future, become a commercial success. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Thomas Eppele
Date: 1999

CUB 49375 - The claimant was found to be self-employed and for that reason not eligible for insurance benefits. However, the Umpire found it to be significant that the business was not a financial success. There was no evidence that it was sufficient to keep the claimant fully employed or to provide her with a livelihood, plus the amount of work spent on the enterprise was only during periods when she was off work. The Umpire said that is not unusual in our society for a person to have other jobs or enterprises during their time off. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Debbie E. White
Date: 2000

CUB 52084 - The claimant is appealing a decision from the Board on the ruling from the Commission that it could not pay her benefits because they considered her to be working full weeks. The payroll records at the claimant's employment show that she was paid $724.64 for the working weeks of June 28 and July 5. After the mentioned weeks she continued to work but on a voluntary basis without remuneration. The Board had reason to believe that the claimant was working and helping her husband run a business. The claimant was not actively seeking employment because she was working during the prime business hours (8:00 am to 5:00 pm). Availability and job searches are not relevant to the issue and the Board erred in law when considering them. The claimant worked voluntarily after July 11th, any claimant who works without remuneration isn't working within the meaning of subsection 11(1) of the Act, unless they do so with the aim of being paid for it. There is no evidence that the claimant did this. See Berube v. C. E.I.C. (1990), 124 N.R. 354. The appeal was allowed
Appellant: Reena Gilani
Date: 2001

CUB 52857 - The claimant is appealing the decision of the Commission and the Board that she wasn't available for benefits because she was operating her own business. To determine whether a person is self employed there are six relevant factors that have to be considered. These are:

  • the time spent
  • the capital and resources invested
  • the financial success or failure of the enterprise
  • the continuity of the business
  • the nature of the employment
  • the willingness of the claimant to seek or accept other employment

The Umpire found that some of the factors were present from early on such as the registering of the business name and the training time spent with the franchiser. The evidence shows that claimant spent 6 to 9 hours a week from March to May researching the franchise and learning the answering service business. From May to September she spent 9 to 12 hours a week carrying out test marketing campaigns, working with another person meeting clients and potential clients, and in part time sales activity from her home. She signed a letter of agreement in August and the franchise contract in October, after that devoted 40 hours per week. In May she began to make sales, the net sales for that month were $899.60. From June to September the net sales ranged from $1,972.81 and $3,852.22. In October the sales rose to $5,456.35 and they remained above that figure for each month until April 1993, which was the last month that figures were available. The business began to turn a profit in September 1992. The claimant's self employment was minor from March to September. The appeal was allowed for that period.
Appellant: Heather Richardson
Date: 2001

CUB 60269 - The claimant, Douglas Cobbett, is appealing the decision that he was not entitled to benefits as of May 12, 3003, because he was operating a business and could not be considered unemployed. The claimant is an iron worker who lost his employment in October 2002 and a benefit period was established. In spring 2003, due to no work available in his trade, he started a small painting and renovation business. In a self-employment case it is important for the Board to make findings of fact in regards to each of the six factors and weigh all six when deciding whether the employment or engagement was or was not minor in extent. The Board failed to do this and by doing so it erred in law and failed to exercise its jurisdiction. Umpire Stevenson gave the decision that the Board was supposed to. He went through each of the six factors and discussed them in relation to the present case. By going through these factors it was discovered that the claimant was involved in the operation of business to such a minor extent that it would not be counted as a principal means of livelihood. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Douglas Cobbett
Date: 2004

CUB 60916 - The Commission is appealing the decision for the Board's majority that found that the claimant's, Geoff Sanderson, involvement in self-employment was minor in nature only during the months of January, February and March 2002 and that he had proven that he was unemployed during that period. A claimant must also establish that they have made " reasonable and customary efforts to obtain employment." Umpire Krindle felt that the Board considered all the evidence and the six factors regarding self-employment and that the decision was not perverse, capricious or without foundation of evidence. The appeal was disallowed.
Appellant: Commission
Date: 2004

CUB 62626 - The claimant was working on an hourly basis about two to three hours per day and two to three days per week. The claimant set up his company to help him find employment. The Board found that the claimant had satisfied the issue of being available for work, and that he was conscious of his status of being 50 years old and a professional with limited potential for finding a position. The claimant never lost sight that it was more important for him to find a job as an employee and stated that if a job interview conflicted with his scheduled work as a consultant, he would attend the interview. The minority member found that the claimant was not in business to a minor extent and should not be considered unemployed. The minority member found that the claimant had spent three days per week as well as extensive travel in the operation of the business. He had also made investments of $8100, paid $3500 for a computer and had an outstanding loan of $3500. Umpire Riche considered all the evidence and was obliged to deal with the provisions of Regulation 30(3); Financial success or failure. In regards to 30(3), there was no doubt that the claimant had created no income, but instead incurred a liability of $22, 000. The appeal was dismissed.
Appellant: Commission
Date: 2004

CUB 63530 - The claimant appeals from the decision of a Board of Referees dismissing his appeal from a ruling of the Commission that it could not pay him benefits because he was operating a business and therefore could not be considered unemployed. The claimant was then just short of 62 years of age, lost his employment as a foreman. He applied for unemployment benefits and a benefit period was established. In 2003 as a result of matching employment insurance records against income tax returns the Commission learned that the claimant had reported self- employment in 2001. The claimant and his wife had purchased a car wash business in 1997. The business had been dormant and the claimant decided to reactivate it after he lost his regular employment. In a self-employment case it is incumbent on a Board of Referees to make findings of fact with respect to each of the six prescribed factors and then determine whether the claimant's self-employment was so minor on extent that one would not normally rely on it as a principal means of livelihood. Having regard to all of the six factors and, particularly in this instance, to the unprofitability of the venture, the Umpire found that the claimant was engaged in the operation of the business to such a minor extent that a person would not normally rely on it as a principal means of livelihood. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Everett MacDonald
Date: 2005

Shareholder in Business

CUB 36830/A-194-97 - The Claimant was laid-off from a farm labourer job of which she holds 20% shares in the company. The Commission found that she was dis-entitled to benefits as she was self-employed due to ownership of shares which generate income. The umpire found that you cannot be considered unemployed and self-employed at the same time. Although the earnings are subject to deductions, it does not disentitle her to benefits as she did indeed experience an interruption in earnings. The appeal was dismissed.
Appellant: Commission
Date: 1997

CUB 62342 - The claimant, David Peterson, is appealing the decision from the Board, that dismissed, in part, his appeal from a ruling of the Commission that it could not pay him benefits as of August 5, 2001 because he was engaged in the preparation, set up and operation of a business as a co-adventurer. The self employment issue relates to whether the claimant's involvement with Innovative Integrations Inc. (III), of which he was one of three shareholders. In the view of the Umpire, the capital and resources invested by Mr. Peterson were minimal and insignificant. During the period under review - August to January - the company was a total failure financially. Those factors were at least as important as the four the Board of Referees characterized as being "the most important." The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: David Peterson
Date: 2004

CUB 64023 - A claim for benefits was established for the claimant effective December 3, 2000, after the company he was employed with on a full-time basis went bankrupt. He collected benefits from January 7, 2001 to September 15, 2001. On May 12, 2003, a report was generated to the Commission from the Canada Revenue Agency indicating that the claimant had declared self-employment earnings on his 2001 Income Tax Return. The claimant indicated that he and his spouse had owned Howard Variety since 1997. The hours of operation were from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday. The claimant was never paid for his work at the store and he and his wife sold the business in 2003. The claimant stated that while he was on claim for benefits he continued to look for full-time employment and go to the variety store every day. Based on this, the Commission determined that the claimant had been engaged in the operation of a business on his own account and was therefore not unemployed. This led to an overpayment of benefits. The Board of Referees allowed the claimant's appeal finding the testimony given by the claimant and his wife to be credible. There was no evidence as observed by the Board that the claimant had an actual shift and that the family relied on him to be at the store in order to run it. The Umpire found that the claimant simply kept to the routine of going to the grocery store to be with his family, to eat and help out if needed; there was no dispute that he did not get paid for any work which he performed at Howard Variety. The appeal was dismissed.
Appellant: Commission
Date: 2005

Starting Business

CUB 51500 - The claimant is appealing the decision that he was not able to receive benefits because he was operating his own business and therefore was not unemployed. The claimant argued that he should not have been disqualified from receiving benefits because he was attempting to start his own business. He had hoped that the business would become his main occupation and livelihood but it never happened. The claimant stated that he had always been on call with a part time employer but there had been very little work. The claimant maintains that he was always available and would take any job that had come his way. The Commission put great emphasis on the six relevant factors, found in Section 30(3) of the Regulations that determine if a person's self employment was minor in extent. In relation to this it is important to consider subsection (2), it is here that it states the relevance of the minor extent of the claimant's involvement. When looking at the six factors it is important to keep in mind the " principle means of livelihood" factor. The Board found the claimant's involvement was not major in time to the extent that would deny him benefits, the claimant had also remained available and open to any kind of work. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Howard Richard Byard
Date: 2001

Time Spent

CUB 37627/A-416-97 - The claimant was denied benefits as she owns 50% of a farm. The claimant had been employed off of the farm on a full time basis. The claimant puts in an average 12hrs or less per year working on the farm books. The umpire found that the claimant is not self-employed in farming and does not work on the farm on a regular basis. The appeal was allowed.
Appellant: Carol Leeming
Date: 1997

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