Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.
Alberta school board workers who are paid an hourly wage and work less than 10 months a year have won their battle for unemployment insurance coverage over the summer months.

Officials with the EI commission have withdrawn their attempt to deny benefits to more than 1,000 school board members with CUPE 3550 and 3484 in the Edmonton area. Unlike teachers who are paid 12 months a year, these workers are laid off each summer. But when they applied for UI in 2002, they were denied benefits.

CUPE launched two appeals: one with the board of referees at Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and the other, with the tax court. HRDC asked the court to rule whether the members were insurable. One of the key factors to consider was whether the members were “12-month employees” according to the collective agreement.

In 2001, Sandra Ryan, a teaching assistant, had won UI benefits after a board of referees overturned HRDC’s denial. The EI Commission then appealed this ruling to the tax court.

CUPE representative Ed Hanson appeared before the court in the spring of 2002 to argue Ryan’s case. Perhaps because it appeared the tax court would rule in her favour, CUPE was notified in November 2002 that Ryan was to receive her benefits. Soon after, more than 1,000 other CUPE school board workers received their benefits.