UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

October 15, 2013 11:13 ET

Migrant Agriculture Workers Take EI Challenge to Federal Court in Toronto

Media alert for Wednesday, October 16, 2013

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 15, 2013) - MEDIA ALERT FOR WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2013 - TORONTO/GTA:

This Wednesday, October 16, in Toronto, the case of 102 seasonal migrant agriculture workers (Cruz De Jesus v. Canada) will be heard by the Federal Court of Appeal regarding more than $600,000 in EI Parental Benefits that were denied to the workers after a change in policy by the EI Commission and the federal government.

The workers, who come to Canada under the federal government's Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) are appealing an EI tribunal hearing that dismissed all of their claims for Parental Benefits. The workers were eligible to apply but an EI umpire ruled they applied too late, in spite of the fact that in the past the federal government had allowed such claims.

Seasonal migrant agriculture workers pay tens of millions of dollars each year in EI premiums each year, but have never been eligible for regular EI benefits because they return home at the end of the harvest season. But until recently seasonal migrant agriculture workers were eligible for up to 35 weeks of Parental Benefits, as well as compassionate benefits, because there was no residency requirement. Seasonal migrant agriculture workers who returned to their home countries at the end of their contracts and were caring for newborn children were eligible for parental benefits.

The 102 applications brought to the appeal court were originally filed and documented through the Agriculture Workers Alliance support centres, which are operated in association with UFCW Canada (United Food and Commercial Workers union).

The appeal on behalf of the workers will be argued at the Federal Court of Appeal by the Income Security Advocacy Centre and Niagara North Community Legal Assistance.

WHAT:
Migrant Agriculture Workers Challenge Unjust Denial of EI Benefits
(Cruz De Jesus v. Canada)
WHEN:
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
9:30 a.m.
WHERE:
Federal Court of Appeal
180 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON
WHO:
Available for interview, as well as contact for appellants in attendance:
Stan Raper, National Coordinator
Agriculture Workers Alliance
sraper@ufcw.ca
(416) 523-0937
Jennifer Pothier
Niagara North Community Legal Assistance
905-682-6635
j_pothier@lao.on.ca
Jackie Esmond
Income Security Advocacy Centre
416-597-5820
esmondja@lao.on.ca

ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION:

A full legal brief and factum on behalf of the appellant migrant workers can be downloaded here.

http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Factum_Migrant_EI_Challenge.pdf

A synopsis of the case can be downloaded here.

http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Synopsis_Migrant_Workers_EI_Parental_EI_Challenge.pdf

Contact Information