Employees who left the public service under the WFAD may be entitled to Employment Insurance benefits Treasury Board agrees with CAPE’s arguments

March 11, 2013 Treasury Board recently expressed agreement with the arguments put forward by CAPE and two other public service unions to the effect that federal employees who agree to leave the public service under the Work Force Adjustment Directive (WFAD) may be entitled to receive Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.
In a letter of March 8 to the President of CAPE and the leaders of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Treasury Board’s Chief Human Resources Officer stated that he would be informing departments of changes they will have to make, retroactive to April 2012, to the record of employment forms of employees who opted to leave the public service voluntarily.
This will affect all former employees who chose to leave the public service with a transition support measure (options B and C(i)), as a result of an alternation, or because they volunteered to be laid off in the context of a selection of employees for retention of lay-off exercise, providing that by leaving the public service they were protecting the job of a co-worker.
“This is another victory for the unions, thanks to the tenacious efforts of CAPE, PIPSC and PSAC to get the government to respect the rights of employees affected by the WFAD,” explained CAPE President Claude Poirier. “When job reduction measures are applied in the private sector, people who volunteer to leave so that their colleagues can keep their jobs are entitled to EI benefits. Until now, the Government of Canada had been applying a double standard when it came to federal public service employees.”
Mr. Poirier added that “this unfair situation was initially brought to light by CAPE members at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. In collaboration with our colleagues at PIPSC and PSAC, we started exerting pressure last August to have Treasury Board treat our members the same as all other workers in Canada. Now we have succeeded, and we have been rewarded for our determination,” he concluded.
Treasury Board will be advising departments and agencies to use a separate code to designate employees who choose to leave the public service in the wake of budget restraint measures. Previously, departments and agencies were required to indicate on record of employment forms only that the separation from employment had been voluntary.
While eligibility for EI benefits will be determined subject to review on a case-by-case basis, the fact that the mention of voluntary separation will no longer be used should make it easier for hundreds of people to receive benefits.
For additional information, please feel free to contact CAPE’s Education Officer by telephone (613-236-9181) at our National Office. If you know of ex-colleagues who were CAPE members and who left the federal public service under the WFAD, please forward them this message and invite them to contact CAPE for more information.