Canada: Updated Guidance on How Employers Should Fill Out Records of Employment During COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Record of Employment (ROE) (Block 16) provides information on an employee’s employment history when they apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.  The information on an ROE is used by Service Canada to determine the employee’s eligibility to receive EI benefits, the benefit amount, and how long the benefits will be paid.  Employers must issue an ROE each time an employee experiences an interruption of earnings. Canada provides a guide on How to Complete the ROE form.

On October 15, 2021, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) updated its website page, EI information for employers – COVID-19, to provide updated guidance regarding how employers should fill out ROEs.  This guidance reminds employers that if they have employees who stopped working because of COVID-19, they must issue their ROEs within the set timeframe.  In addition, the guidance provides the following direction regarding which codes an employer should use when issuing an ROE during the pandemic:

  • When an employee is no longer working because the business has decreased operations or closed due to COVID-19, use code A (shortage of work);
  • When an employee is sick or quarantined, use code D (illness or injury);
  • When an employee does not report to work because they refuse to comply with a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy (Policy), use code E (quit) or code N (leave of absence); and
  • When an employer suspends or terminates an employee because they failed to comply with a Policy, the employer should use code M (dismissal).

The updated webpage indicates that if an employer uses Codes E, N, or M, ESDC may contact the employer to determine whether:

  • It adopted a Policy and clearly communicated it to all employees;
  • Its employees were informed that failure to comply with the Policy would result in loss of employment;
  • The application of the Policy to the employee was reasonable within the workplace context; and
  • There were any exemptions for refusing to comply with the Policy.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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