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  • CUB 24965

    IN THE MATTER OF the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1971

    - and -

    IN THE MATTER OF a claim by
    Michel Pauzé

    - and -

    IN THE MATTER OF an appeal to an Umpire by the claimant
    from a decision of the Board of Referees given at
    Edmonton, Alberta on February 23, 1994.



    The claimant requested that this appeal be decided on the record and the Commission so agreed.

    The claimant quit his position at the Northern Store, Fort Smith, NWT on November 15, 1993. After investigation the Commission determined that he had voluntarily left his job without just cause, the result being that he was disqualified from receiving regular benefits for the remainder of his claim. The claimant appealed that decision, submitted written material for the Board hearing and participated in that hearing by telephone. The employer was not represented at that hearing.

    The decision of the Board of Referees is as follows:

    Did the claimant voluntarily leave his job with Northern Store on November 13, 1993 without just cause?
    The Board reviewed all the exhibits and jurisprudence. On (Exhibit 5.3) the claimant advised that he resigned with prejudice. The claimant further states on (Exhibit 6.1) that he resigned and confirms this at the interview. The claimant was experiencing a number of difficulties with his employment. Management attempted to deal with his concerns by extending his period of probation. In (Exhibit 8.2) the employer relates that he would have not been dismissed providing there was improvement in his work situation.
    Bound by the Unemployment Insurance Act and its regulations, the Board finds that the claimant has not proven just cause to leave his job.
    Therefore, by unanimous decision this appeal is dismissed.

    Subsection 79(2) of the Unemployment Insurance Act requires that a decision of a Board of Referees be recorded in writing and

    shall include a statement of the findings of the Board on questions of fact material to the decision.

    The Board has not in this case provided a statement of its findings on questions of material fact. The decision quoted above is completely inadequate, although far from unusual among decisions of various Boards of Referees. It will be noted that the second paragraph simply summarizes some of the evidence which the Board reviewed. That summary does not amount to findings of fact made by the Board. A finding involves a decision by the Board after weighing the evidence. It is impossible to know what opinion the Board formed of the conflicting evidence in this case. This is a serious error of law by the Board which makes it impossible for the Umpire to review the decision. A key argument of the claimant is that the Board focused on the fact that he voluntarily left his job, which he did not deny, but did not consider whether he had just cause for doing so. It is impossible for me to tell from the written decision of the Board whether it made any finding of fact upon which a determination of just cause could be made. It is particularly important in a case such as this where the former employer and employee give very different versions of events that the Board make findings of fact as to what indeed did happen. This is not only important legally, but as a practical matter is very important now that Parliament has automatically denied all benefits to persons who are adjudged to have left their employment voluntarily without just cause. Whereas previously Boards and Umpires could recognize in many cases that there was fault on both sides and modify the disqualification accordingly, that option is no longer open. Boards and Umpires must now clearly allocate the operative fault to employer or employee. The consequences are very important for the claimant, on the one hand, and the Unemployment Insurance fund, on the other.

    I am therefore setting aside the decision of the Board and referring this matter back for a decision by a new Board in accordance with these reasons.

    Original signed by

    B.L. Strayer


    June 17, 1994