The number of hours or weeks one needs to qualify for EI are based on where the person lives and the unemployment rate in that economic region at the time the claim is filed. In an April 12, 2013 Tax Court of Canada case, at issue was how many of a teacher's hours worked were insurable hours under the Employment Insurance Act (EIA).
The government originally did not include hours spent attending meetings assigned by a principal, preparation and planning of courses, marking student work, and recording student achievements in determining eligible employment hours.
The Court noted that:
The EIA defines hours of insurable employment and notes that where a person’s earnings are not paid on an hourly basis but the employer provides evidence of the number of hours that the person actually worked in the period of employment and for which the person was remunerated, the person is deemed to have worked that number of hours in insurable employment.
The Court increased the number of hours from 509 (as conceded by CRA) to 547 hours for this extra time.
Action Item: Although this case refers to a teaching scenario, consider whether it also applies to you or your employees.