Home Canada No EI benefits for man fired over COVID-19 vaccine, test refusal: Federal Court – National

No EI benefits for man fired over COVID-19 vaccine, test refusal: Federal Court – National

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Dismissed for refusing to obtain COVID-19 If you haven’t had the vaccine and tested, you’re likely to be ineligible for unemployment benefits in Canada, legal experts say.

Federal court ruling last week Ontario man said he was ineligible Employment insurance (EI) is receiving benefits after being laid off from a medical job for failing to follow an employer’s policy on vaccination and testing for COVID-19.

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Anthony Checket, a former employee of Lakeridge Health in the Greater Toronto area, took unpaid leave in September 2021 and was fired a month later, according to the ruling.

His EI application was denied in October 2021. This is because he lost his job for “cheating” and was seeking judicial review of an earlier decision by the Social Security Court that found him ineligible for EI.

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Federal Judge William Penney said in a judgment dated Jan. 23, 2023, “Chekett has presented no legal or factual arguments to persuade me that the Appellate Division’s decision was unreasonable.” said.

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Work: what’s next?Mandatory Vaccines and Employment Insurance

COVID-19 vaccine mandates across Canada have left thousands of workers in various sectors and provinces out of work or on unpaid leave.

Employment and Social Development Canada warned in October 2021 Workers who lose their jobs because they refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 may not be eligible for EI benefits.

Then-Employment Minister Carla Quartraf told Global News that failure to follow a clear vaccine policy was considered a failure to comply with the EI’s claims.

“The basic tenet of the EI program is that the claimant must lose their job through no fault of their own, which is usually considered an option,” she told Global’s The West Block.

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Many Canadians have challenged their dismissal and subsequent EI disqualification in court, with little success.

Jon Pinkus, GTA’s employment attorney at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, said the latest decision was not surprising and that there was precedent for similar cases of employees refusing both COVID-19 testing and vaccination. I was.

“Employment insurance is a federal system, so in that sense this applies nationwide,” he said.

But he said the law would consider both vaccination and testing different.

“There was also a decision that employees who had not undergone a replacement test for vaccination were considered eligible for employment insurance and that it was not considered fraudulent,” Pincus said.

Another Toronto employment attorney, Michael Stitz, said he tends to favor protecting employers and governments when safety-conscious environments and COVID-19 mandates are topics of discussion. .

“In reality, this sends a clear message that courts will not back down regarding those who may have suffered financial losses due to their unwillingness to be both vaccinated and/or tested.” he told Global News.

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From a legal standpoint, lawyers say employees fired without a government order should be entitled to compensation.

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate has become a thorny issue, polarizing Canadians across the country.

The federal government implemented mandatory COVID-19 policies for all federal workers in October 2021.

That obligation was lifted in June 2022.

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Stitz said despite the mandate imposed, the government has never explicitly allowed termination of employment without dismissal, which could create a situation where the most vulnerable would be adversely affected.

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“Employment insurance is not a one-size-fits-all scenario.”

“For example, if an employee had legitimate health reasons and their employment was terminated, it could certainly be unfair.”

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Legality of compulsory COVID-19 vaccination in the workplace

As for wrongful dismissal and refusal to resign, Pincus said jurors are still out on whether an employer can fire an employee for cause because they haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. has not issued

“There is no precedent for an employer to claim that an employee committed a serious misconduct as a result of essentially refusing some form of medication.”

In September 2022, the federal government will Finished Temporary Changes Going back to the EI programs created during the pandemic, we return to our original framework.

Under the temporary measure, workers qualified for EI based on the country’s requirement to have 420 insured hours of employment. In addition, money paid upon separation, such as severance pay, was not deducted from benefits. These measures are now repealed.

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— Using files from The Canadian Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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