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  • CUB 4421A

    IN THE MATTER OF the Unemployment Insurance Act

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    IN THE MATTER OF a claim for benefit by Rudolf L. NOWAK

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    IN THE MATTER OF an appeal to an Umpire by the Claimant from the decision
    of a Board of Referees given in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 14, 1975.



    This is a case of availability involving a claimant referred to a training course by someone other than an Insurance Officer. The Claimant had been in receipt of $123.00 benefits per week under the Act and, on September 15, 1975 commenced a course of instruction involving his attendance between 7:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday until October 24, 1975. He had been referred to the course by Canada Manpower and was awarded a $44.00 per week training allowance. Once disentitled, the Claimant could not afford to complete the course. He quit and was again entitled to Unemployment Insurance benefits.

    The Act provides:

    14.(2) The Commission may authorise designated employees or classes of employees of the Commission to perform any duty or function of the Commission under this Act.

    25. A claimant is not entitled to be paid benefit for any working day in an initial benefit period for which he fails to prove that he was either

    (a) capable of and available for work and unable to obtain suitable employment on that day, ...

    39.(1) For the purposes of this Part, a claimant is unemployed, capable of, and available for work during any period he is attending a course of instruction or training to which he has been referred by such authority as the Commission may designate.

    By a minute of November 26, 1971, the Commission designated itself and the Department of Manpower and Immigration (hereafter called "Canada Manpower") as authorities for purposes of subsection 39(1). On May 4, 1972, the Commission revoked the designation of Canada Manpower as such authority and delegated its own function to its Insurance Officers in accordance with subsection 14(2). The revocation of Canada Manpower's authority was ultimately effective April 1, 1973.

    By the time the Claimant was referred to his training course Insurance Officers were clearly the only authority for purposes of subsection 39(1). At the same time the Commission's offices were still distributing literature, the whole effect of which cannot be considered to accord with its action in this case. A page from the Commission's pamphlet "Rights and obligations" follows:


    The Unemployment Insurance Commission has the obligation and the desire to help you as much as possible. You may go to the U.I.C. office nearest to you and receive personal help in completing your Application for Benefit form. The employees in the U.I.C. office are trained, helpful people, whose job is to make it as easy as possible for you to claim the benefit to which you are entitled.

    The Insurance Agent who handles your claim for benefit has three objectives in mind when serving you:

    1. He wants to adjudicate your claim with speed and fairness

    2. He wants to make certain that you are fully aware of your rights and obligations under the terms of the Unemployment Insurance Act

    3. He wants to help you, through liaison with Canada Manpower Centres and other agencies, to reenter the work force as quickly as possible.


    Through Canada Manpower Centres, you have the right to placement services and to counselling to help you reenter the labour force as quickly as possible.

    This counselling may result in your being referred to a Canada Manpower Retraining program which provides you with a training allowance. This does not disqualify you from receiving U.I.C. benefit. In most cases, the U.I.C. will supplement your Canada Manpower allowance to give you an amount of money equal to the U.I. benefit you were entitled to before taking the course.

    I have a great deal of sympathy for claimants caught in this situation. This Claimant is by no means the first. I regret that the appeal must be dismissed.

    The argument that Canada Manpower was, somehow, still an authority when it referred the Claimant to the course simply does not hold up. It was not a fact and no amount of forceful and ingenious argument makes it so. As to estoppel, the Claimant's argument utterly ignores subsection 8(1) of the Act and all that flows from it.

    8.(1) The Commission is for all purposes an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada and its powers under this Act may be exercised only as agent for Her Majesty.

    Perhaps, to avoid disappointing its customers, the Commission ought to consider a caveat on its more effusive advertisements similar to that imposed by law on tobacco vendors.

    The appeal is dismissed.

    Hon. Mr. Justice Patrick M. Mahoney, P.C.


    Ottawa, Canada
    February 4, 1977.