Appeals To The Board Of Referees
What is an appeal?
Claimants may appeal decisions made by the EI Commission, for reasons such as:
- EI benefits have been refused;
- Benefits received are to be repaid;
- A warning letter has been given or a penalty has been assessed.
Employers may appeal decisions made by the EI Commission, for reasons such as:
- Benefits are being paid to an employee who quit or was fired for misconduct;
- EI is being paid to employees who refused work or are in a labour dispute;
- A warning letter has been given or a penalty has been assessed.
If, as a claimant or an employer, you disagree with this EI Commission decision, you have the right to appeal. There is no cost to file an appeal, but there is a 30-day time limit for filing the appeal.
In the first level of the appeal process, the Board of Referees examines the EI Commission decision and makes an independent decision on your case.
This Web site will tell you how and where to file your appeal to the Board of Referees. It will explain what to expect after the appeal is filed and what to do with the appeal docket sent to you. It will also give you the Web sites that have been developed to help you understand the EI Commission decision and prepare for your appeal.
In certain circumstances, there is a second level of appeal, which is an appeal to the Umpire.
The Board of Referees is an independent and impartial administrative body comprising three members of the community. The members of the Board of Referees are not government employees. They are knowledgeable about Employment Insurance legislation and are trained to examine your case in a fair manner.
The Board will base its decision on the Employment Insurance Act and Regulations and its finding of facts in the case before it.
To do this, the Board may rely on previous decisions from higher courts to guide it in its decision.
For more information, consult the Board of Referees website.
Not necessarily. The most important thing is that you attend the hearing, either in person or by telephone. You can have someone (i.e. a friend, union representative, community legal representative or lawyer) assist and attend with you. It is up to you to decide.
If you decide to hire a representative or a lawyer, you will have to pay any costs yourself.
There are many community groups and claimant help groups that can help you prepare for your appeal. Contact your Service Canada Centre for information on these groups. Service Canada employees can also help and direct you to Web sites useful for your hearing. If you wish, you can refer directly to the working documents that EI Commission agents use.
You must inform your Service Canada Centre in writing that you want to appeal. You have 30 days after you receive the EI Commission decision to do this. If there is more than one decision on your claim, please be sure you identify the specific decision or decisions you want to appeal.
A standard appeal form has been prepared (called the Notice of Appeal to the Board of Referees) that you can use to file your appeal. The appeal form cannot be filled online. You must PRINT IT before it can be filled in. Make sure it is complete, signed and dated, and then send it to your Service Canada Centre.
If you decide not to use the form, Service Canada will need the following information to go ahead with the appeal. If you do not file in time (within the 30-day period), you must provide special reasons for the delay.
Your notice of appeal should contain:
- your name; and or Employer's name;
- your Social Insurance Number (SIN); OR Canada Revenue Agency Employer Business Number;
- your current address and telephone number;
- the reasons why you are filing an appeal;
- whether you want to attend the hearing;
- whether you want your appeal to be heard in English or French;
- whether you will have someone representing you at the appeal (if so, include their name and address); and
- the date of your appeal and your signature.
Do your best to tell us why you are appealing the decision.
If you have specific reasons for appealing a decision from the Commission which was communicated to you may appeal this decision. It is important not to delay, as there is a 30-day time limit. Be sure to identify all the decisions you want to appeal.
This way, you will have time to prepare your position or consult someone on the options that are open to you. If you understand your case better, you can better prepare for your appeal.
Once Service Canada receives your appeal, it will send you a letter saying that it was received (Acknowledgement of Receipt). It will also tell you which sections of the Employment Insurance Act or Regulations are involved.
Along with the Acknowledgement of Receipt that you receive, use the Notice of Decision sent to you to familiarize yourself with the EI Commission decision that has been made. Look at the following sites:
- A research tool that sets out the views of the Federal Court on EI cases;
- Previous appealed made by judges;
- The complete text of the EI Act and Regulations;
- Guidelines used by Service Canada staff to make decisions.
These sites will help you understand the decision made and will also help you to prepare for your appeal.
Someone from the Service Canada Centre may call you. Please give this person as much information as you can. Based on the facts you present, the EI Commission agent may decide to allow your claim, and an appeal might not be necessary. If the appeal proceeds, the EI Commission agent will then prepare the appeal docket for the Board of Referees.
The appeal docket contains all the documents that were used to make the decision in your case, such as copies of the claim for benefits and all the evidence that was gathered by the EI Commission.
It also contains the EI Commission's written reasons for the decision on your claim. As well, it explains the previous cases or court decisions it referred to when making this decision.
You should be aware, however, that there may be other court decisions that are relevant and might be favorable to your case.
Approximately 10 days before your hearing date, the appeal docket will be mailed to you and your representative (if you have one) along with an official notice of hearing. In certain circumstances, the appeal docket will be sent to both the claimant and the employer. For example, both may receive the appeal docket when benefits are being paid to an employee who quit for work related reasons or was fired for misconduct, etc.
The appeal docket is also given to the Board of Referees before the hearing so that members can review it. The appeal docket you receive is the same as the Board's. Bring this docket with you to the hearing. Do not worry if you do not understand everything in your docket since the Board will go over the contents during your hearing.
If you would like to have someone submit your appeal and/or represent you during the appeal hearing you must provide Service Canada with the name of your representative and indicate in writing that this person is authorized to represent you and in what capacity (for example, during the hearing only, etc.). Service Canada will not release any information to your representative regarding your appeal without your written consent in order to respect your privacy and to comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act.
The notice of hearing will tell you and your representative (if you have one), when and where the Board will hear your case (in person or by telephone). Service Canada tries to have cases heard within 30 days after you have written that you want to appeal. As soon as your appeal is scheduled, the notice of hearing is sent to you, along with a copy of the appeal docket. Usually, these documents are sent 10 days before the hearing. You will therefore have time to prepare for the hearing. Again, make sure that your Service Canada Centre has your current address on hand.
For everyone's convenience, Board sessions are usually held in government buildings.
You do not have to attend the hearing. However, we recommend that you do so because it gives you an opportunity to provide new evidence or clarification that may help the Board make its decision. Also, the Board will likely have questions for you to make sure it has all the facts to reach a decision.
Appellants and interested parties living in remote areas can attend the hearing by telephone or video conference. Contact your Service Canada Centre for more information.
Make sure you are on time because the Board may begin without you.
You will be introduced to the Chairperson and the other two members of the Board. There will be some introductory comments on the nature of the appeal process and the Board's role.
The hearing is held in a casual manner, and the Board will make every possible effort to make you feel at ease. The length of the hearing depends on many factors. The number of documents in the appeal docket, the questions the Board members may have or any other circumstance of the case all have an impact on the length of the hearing. Usually however, appeals are heard within an hour.
You can ask to have the hearing recorded. This provides an audio record of the proceedings. You can ask for a copy of the recording.
You will be asked to present your case. Remember that the Board members have already read the docket but likely will have questions for you so that they can better understand your case. Try to relax as much as possible. You are not expected to give a formal legal presentation. This is not a courtroom. Please remember this is simply your opportunity to explain your case.
In certain cases, your employer is notified of the EI Commission decision (for example, when EI benefits are paid to an employee who quit his/her job, was fired for misconduct, refused work or is involved in a labour dispute). As an interested party, the employer or a representative has the right to attend the hearing if they so choose. In this instance, they will be allowed to present their case and respond to any evidence given.
If your appeal involves harassment and you are uncomfortable providing information regarding the circumstances in front of the other party, the Board Chairperson can proceed to hear the parties separately.
Generally, the EI Commission does not attend the hearing, as it usually relies on the presentation of its written reasons. However, the EI Commission has the right to appear and may decide to be present.
If you cannot attend the hearing in person, a telephone hearing can be arranged for you. If you cannot attend either in person or by telephone on the date set, contact the Board of Referees' assistant immediately. The phone number appears on the notice of hearing you were sent.
If you cannot attend a hearing either in person or via the telephone, you can request the hearing be rescheduled or you can present your arguments in writing. Make sure your arguments are forwarded to the Board of Referees before the hearing; otherwise, the Board members will make their decision based on what is contained in the appeal docket.
The Board expects you to be on time and to come prepared to discuss your case.
Be sure you bring your appeal docket and review it carefully so that you can discuss with the Board any facts or comments you disagree with.
If you have documents other than your appeal docket that you want to present, try to send them to the Board's assistant before the hearing so that they can be reviewed. If you are unable to send them beforehand, the Board will expect you to have them with you. Also, if you want to present any witnesses, they should attend the hearing with you. If your witness cannot attend, his/her signed statement of events may be accepted by the Board. Again, you should try to inform the Board's assistant that you are bringing witnesses.
If you do not speak either English or French, you should bring somebody with you who can interpret. If there is a fee involved, you will be responsible for the payment.
If you have a hearing or a visual impairment, Service Canada will pay for either a sign language interpreter or for your docket to be sent to you in Braille. Let Service Canada know if these arrangements need to be made.
- Read the appeal docket sent to you and make sure you are familiar with it. It is your copy and you can write on it;
- Make a checklist of the points you want to raise with the Board, including any errors you have found concerning information in the docket;
- In addition to your appeal docket, bring any new information, documents and evidence (for example, a medical certificate, payroll records, letters from co-workers, etc.) that you want the Board to consider, or send it to the Board's assistant before the hearing date;
- If you plan to bring someone with you, make arrangements with them and try to let the Board's assistant know in advance that they will attend the hearing;
- As mentioned previously, you can also research court decisions that may be relevant to your appeal. To do this, look at the particular section of the EI Act and Regulations (as described in the Acknowledgement of Receipt of Appeal) and then research the previous cases that apply to that subject.
For example, if section 29 is mentioned (which has to do with voluntarily leaving your job), three tools are available to you: A View from the Courts, the Jurisprudence Library and the Employment Insurance Appeal Decisions Favourable to Workers. If you choose A View from the Courts, select "Voluntary Leaving" from the Table of Contents. You could also consult previously appealed case decisions by entering the key phrase "Voluntary Leaving" in the search field of the Jurisprudence Library or by selecting "voluntarily leaving employment" from the dropdown menu. The new tool Employment Insurance Appeal Decisions Favourable to Workers is a collection of independently selected jurisprudence that is favourable to workers.
Remember that the cases in your appeal docket are those that the EI Commission used to support its decision. You should be aware that there may be other cases favourable to you.
- You may be able to get help to prepare your appeal from community and claimant help groups who are familiar with the E.I. Act. Your Service Canada Centre may have a list of these groups.
The Board will not give you a verbal decision on the day of your hearing. You will receive a written decision between 7 and 10 days after the hearing.
If the Board's decision is not in your favour, you have the right to file an appeal with the Umpire. Again, there is no charge to file this appeal. Make sure you understand the , as this is a very different situation than an appeal to the Board of Referees. appeal to the Umpire
If the Board's decision is in your favour, the EI Commission or your employer (if involved) may appeal the Board's decision to the Umpire, which is the next level of appeal.
If no appeal is filed by any party, then the Board's decision is final.
More information is available on Appeals to the Umpire.