Journal of Law and Social Policy


Georges Campeau


Unemployment insurance; Labor laws & legislation

Document Type


French Abstract

Remaining almost unchanged since the creation of the scheme in 1940, disentitlement arising from Joss of employment due to a stoppage of work attributable to a labour dispute has been substantially modified by the recent reform of unemployment insurance. Taking note of tribunal decisions, the reform lessens the rigour of disentitlement, by limiting its application in certain particular situations, such as sick leave planned prior to the work stoppage. On the other band, the reform considerably enlarges the collective dimension of disentitlement. Henceforth, not only claimants who have lost their employment by reason of a work stoppage attributable to a labour dispute will be disentitled to benefits, but equally those who cannot resume their previous employment for the same reason. Moreover, the 85% rule for determining the end of a work stoppage is now embodied in the regulations. Rejecting the criticisms of the disentitlement formulated by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Hills case, the Conservatives have chosen, on the contrary, to strengthen the legal foundations of disentitlement. Under the pretext of reinforcing neutrality (the existence of which is strongly contested by many), the government is playing an active role through the unemployment insurance legislation to ensure that market forces can act freely, without state constraint. The reform reaffirms the precedence of the economic role of the legislation over its declared social objective, which is "to provide benefits to unemployed persons".