What can I do if I am not happy with a decision about my EI claim?

There have been changes to the EI system because of COVID-19. Since September 26, 2021, you require only 420 hours of insurable work to qualify for Regular Benefits or Special Benefits. This new rule will last until September 24, 2022.

There's also a new minimum EI payment of $300 a week for claims started between September 26, 2021, and November 20, 2021. This rule is for both Regular Benefits and Special Benefits.

For more information on changes to EI, see The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is ending. Will I be able to get Employment Insurance (EI)?

Most decisions about your Employment Insurance (EI) claim can be reconsidered. This can include situations where you have:

  • been refused benefits or you think the amount is too low,
  • been told you must repay some benefits you received,
  • been given a penalty, or
  • received a warning letter.

You might have information or a document that Service Canada did not have when they made their decision. You should give the missing information to Service Canada. Even if you don't have any new documents or information, you can still ask for a reconsideration of the decision if you don't agree with the decision and you have a reason to support this.

Your request for reconsideration should go to Service Canada. After a reconsideration, if you still do not agree with the decision, you can to an independent tribunal called the Social Security Tribunal – General Division.

Some things cannot be reconsidered by Service Canada or appealed to the Social Security Tribunal. For example, only the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can settle disputes about how many insurable hours or earnings you have. If Service Canada staff are not sure how many insurable hours or earnings you have, they will often write to the CRA and ask CRA to make a decision about this called a “ruling”.

You can also ask for your own ruling from CRA about your insurable hours or earnings. You must ask for the ruling by June 30 in the year after you did the work. For example, June 30, 2017 was the deadline to ask for a ruling about any work you did in 2016. You can find more information about asking for a ruling from CRA.

No matter who asks the CRA to make a ruling, it is important to remember that Service Canada and the Social Security Tribunal do not have the power to reconsider the CRA ruling. You must appeal the CRA's ruling about your insurable hours or earnings to the Minister of National Revenue. Appeal decisions are actually made on behalf of the Minister by the EI / CPP Appeal Division of the CRA Appeals Branch.

The deadline to file an appeal is 90 days from when you first found out about the CRA's decision. You can find more information about filing an appeal here.

If you have a ruling from CRA about your insurable hours or earnings and also a decision from Service Canada about your EI benefits, it is very important that you challenge each one separately within the time limits. For example you might have to appeal the CRA's decision to the Minister of National Revenue at the same time that you apply for reconsideration of Service Canada's decision.

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