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A CUPE 4400 member has won an Employment Insurance (EI) decision against the Canada Employment Insurance Commission at the Federal Court of Appeal.

The decision affects more than 3000 school board instructors throughout the country, many of whom are women and part-time workers. CUPE school board instructors provide non-credit, classroom instruction in literacy training, language skills, music, parenting, seniors and other programs.

Sister Ann Armin, a part-time music instructor with the Toronto District School Board, was one of the EI claimants chosen by CUPE 4400 to be brought forward as an appeal when HRDC originally denied benefits to many instructors. The instructors, similar to other hourly paid CUPE school board workers, receive EI during the summer and other lay-off periods.

HRDC argued that the CUPE instructors were teachers and should not receive EI during the summer. Teachers, as year-round salaried employees, are not allowed to receive EI during the summer and school breaks.

There were numerous decisions by the Board of Referees in favour of the school board instructors. The Employment Insurance Commission appealed these decisions to the Umpire. In the case of Sister Ann Armin, Umpire Ruth Krindle upheld the Board of Referees decision that she was not a teacher, but a support staff person, paid by the hour and entitled to EI benefits.

The Canada Employment Insurance Commission was not happy with this result and proceeded to appeal the decision to the Federal Court of Appeal. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld Umpire Krindles decision last week.

CUPE 4400 school board instructors will finally receive their Employment Insurance benefits. Shame on the Canada Employment Insurance Commission for wasting taxpayers money by appealing three times! Hourly-paid school board members have the right to EI during layoff.