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THE QUESTION

I had to leave a job and move provinces for health reasons. I’m unable to find employment in my new town and would like to apply for employment insurance. I have a note from my doctor outlining that the health reasons are the reason for the move. However, my previous company put on my record of employment (ROE) that I quit without just cause. Revenue Canada says the company has to change the ROE, but my company says that Revenue Canada is responsible for changing it. Who is responsible for changing a record of employment? And am I entitled to collect EI in this situation?

THE FIRST ANSWER

Marion Blight, barrister and solicitor, Randy Ai Workplace Law, Toronto

I’m sorry to hear about your health concerns. Thankfully, your first question has a straightforward answer. Your record of employment is issued by your employer and they are responsible for what goes on it. When there’s an error, it is on your employer to make the change. I would advise them of this, and see that any errors are corrected as soon as possible, because it is important to apply for EI as soon as possible after you are terminated in order to make the most of your eligibility.

I assume by “Revenue Canada” in your question, you mean Service Canada. Both your income tax and EI contributions are deducted off of your paycheque, but the Canada Revenue Agency is only responsible for your taxes. EI is administrated by Service Canada. They need the information on your ROE because EI is an entirely separate system and they do not already have access to the information on your income that the CRA does.

As for your second question, whether or not you are entitled to receive EI will ultimately be Service Canada’s decision and will depend on whether your resignation was through “no fault of your own.” They will take both your and your employer’s version of events into account and decide independently whether your circumstances qualify. If your employer agrees that your resignation was necessary because of your health concerns, there shouldn’t be an issue once your ROE is corrected.

THE SECOND ANSWER

Lai-King Hum, founder and senior lawyer, Hum Law, Toronto

In Canada, the responsibility for issuing and correcting an ROE lies with the employer. The ROE is an important document that outlines your employment history and is used to determine your eligibility for various government benefits, including EI.

If there is an error or dispute regarding the information on your ROE, it is the employer’s responsibility to correct it. However, it’s important to note that the responsibility for overseeing the ROE lies with Service Canada, not the CRA.

In your situation, it would be advisable to contact your company and ask them again to change your ROE, because it is their responsibility to correct errors. Specifically, “block 16″ of your ROE should be filled with a “Code E” and a comment indicating you quit because of health reasons.

It would also be advisable to contact Service Canada’s employment insurance program and explain the issue with your ROE. They should be able to provide guidance on the necessary steps to rectify the situation and ensure that your ROE accurately reflects the circumstances of your departure from your previous job. In some cases, Service Canada will contact employers and ask for an amendment. Whether any changes are warranted would likely depend on a real link between having to leave your job and your health reasons.

Regarding your eligibility for EI, it is difficult to provide a definitive answer without more details such as your number of insured hours of work and the details of your health issue. If you have hit the work hours threshold (for example, 700 hours for Toronto), generally speaking, EI benefits are available to individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own, including situations where health reasons necessitate a move. I suggest submitting your doctor’s note outlining the health reasons for your move as a supporting document for your EI application.

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