Summer Benefits for Teachers
by Sarah Mills
Can a teacher who has finished a contract of employment at the end of one school year and has accepted another position for the upcoming school year receive EI (UI) benefits during the Summer months? A Federal Court of Appeal decision in late 1995 dealt with this question.
A Quebec teacher, Mr. Gauthier, had a contract of employment from August 1992 to June 1993. In May 1993, the school board notified Mr. Gauthier that it did not intend to retain him for the 1993-94 school year. After he had finished teaching in June 1993, Gauthier made a claim for UI benefits. On the same day, the school board wrote the Unemployment Insurance Commission to state that teachers, including Gauthier, would be recalled and that a contract renewal process for the 1993-94 school year had been undertaken. Gauthier later signed a one-year contract, which was to come into effect August 30, 1993. The Commission decided that Gauthier was not entitled to receive UI benefits because, under UI regulations, his contract of employment for teaching had not terminated. Gauthier appealed this decision to the Board of Referees and won his appeal. On the Commission's appeal to the Umpire, the Board of Referees ruling was overturned. Mr. Gauthier appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal but was unsuccessful.
The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that Gauthier was never unemployed and, therefore, could not receive any UI benefits. The Court decided that the beginning of the school year was July 1, 1993, and that Gauthier was hired retroactive to July 1, 1993.
This case appears to be the highest level decision to date on the issue of whether teachers who are between positions may collect UI (EI) during July and August. (Note: The new EI regulations concerning the receipt of benefits during the non-teaching period are essentially the same as the UI regulations.)