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Appealing Employment Insurance decisions

Region: Ontario Answer # 616

If you applied for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits and the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) made a decision regarding your application that you do not agree with, you can appeal the decision. However, before making an appeal, you must first request that the EI Commission review your case and reconsider their decision, by submitting a formal Request for Reconsideration. To get help, ask a lawyer now.

Request for reconsideration

Reasons to request a reconsideration of an EI decision include:

  • EI benefits have been refused;
  • EI benefits received are to be repaid;
  • a warning letter has been given; and/or
  • a penalty has been imposed.

There is no cost to request a reconsideration and it must submitted to the EI Commission through Service Canada within 30 days from the date the decision was communicated to you. If you do not submit your request within the 30 day time period, you must provide reasons for the delay. The EI Commission may allow an extension if it is satisfied that there is a reasonable explanation as to why your application was late.

To make a formal request for reconsideration, complete an online Request for Reconsideration of an Employment Insurance (EI) Decision form. You must then print, sign, and mail it to the address provided on the form, or visit a Service Canada Centre.

More information on the EI reconsideration process, required forms, and a list of Service Canada locations can be found online at canada.ca.

Appeal to the Social Security Tribunal (SST)

After reviewing your request, the EI Commission will make a final decision regarding your case. Their decision will be based on a number of factors, including a full review of the original decision and all relevant information, as well as any new information you have provided.

General Division (1st level of appeal)

If you disagree with the reconsideration decision made by the Commission regarding your application for benefits, you can then file an appeal to the General Division of the Social Security Tribunal (SST).  The SST is an independent administrative tribunal that provides appeal processes for Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and Old Age Security (OAS) decisions.

The SST must receive your appeal within 30 days of your receipt of the reconsideration decision from the EI Commission. To start an appeal, you must complete the Notice of Appeal to the SST General Division form. Even if you complete this form online, you are required to print it, sign it, and mail or fax the hard copy to the SST office. If you do not want to complete the form, you may submit a letter of appeal, however, the letter must include all the information required on the form.


Decision of the Social Security Tribunal

Once they have received your Notice of Appeal, an SST Tribunal Member will review the EI Commission’s file as well as your appeal application and any other information you have provided.

There are two possible outcomes to this review.  First, if the Member decides that the appeal has no reasonable chance of success, they must, by law, summarily dismiss it.  Before doing so, however, the Tribunal Member will notify you in writing of the intention to summarily dismiss the appeal. This will give you an opportunity to provide additional information and make a case to continue with the appeal. Once you do so, a Tribunal Member will review this information and decide if your appeal should proceed or should be dismissed. If it is dismissed, the Tribunal will send you the decision in writing.

If your appeal is allowed to continue, the Tribunal will either make a formal decision by considering the information it already has, or a hearing will take place. Hearings can take place by four ways:

  1. By written questions from the Tribunal Member, where you and/or the EI Commission will be asked questions in writing to which a written response is required,
  2. A hearing by telephone,
  3. A hearing by videoconference, or
  4. An in-person hearing.

The SST will inform you in writing of the type of hearing they have decided to use, and will call or write to you to schedule the hearing. If your hearing is to be conducted by written correspondence, you will be given a date for providing the answers to the Tribunal Member. Regardless of which method of hearing was used, once the hearing is completed, the SST Member will make a decision and send a copy to you in writing.

Appeal Division (2nd level of appeal)

If the General Division of the SST makes a decision that you still disagree with, you can then make a further appeal to the Appeal Division of the Social Security Tribunal. Your appeal must be in writing, and the SST Appeal Division must receive it within 30 calendar days of receiving the General Division’s decision. There are appeal forms online.

Get help

If you are unsure how to appeal a decision, or you would like more information and to access appeal forms online, refer to the Social Security Tribunal of Canada. To get help, ask a lawyer now.

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