Is knowledgeable on Employment Insurance questions? Ontario. None

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Customer: Hello
JA: Hi. How can I help?
Customer: Is Tom knowledgeable on Employment Insurance questions?
JA: What province is this in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Ontario
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: none
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Answered by JJL11 in 1 hour 2 years ago
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JJL11
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JJL11
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JJL11, Expert

Hello...My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to assist you today with your question.

Customer
Thank you -I have a call with an EI officer tomorrow at 8AM (EST), they sounded concerned when they phoned me over the weekend and said they had questions about my 2019 EI Claims. Here is the situation: I was laid off in November of 2018, I started receiving EI in January 2019, until the end of October2019. I stopped receiving it in November. Throughout the year in 2019, I was job applying (I do have plenty of job application confirmations in my email, particularly from January to August) while also unexpectedly starting to receive very occasional income from self-employment (which I reported under my EI claims when applicable). By October, it was apparent that the self-employment route could become a primary source of employment, and by November I had discontinued EI. In my mind the whole point was to get off EI, be it through securing full-time employment with an employer or self-employment. I looked at my accounts just now, and it does seem like in October I received one EI payment (1000) even though in October I had made income that would have justified not receiving any EI (I did report my self-employment, but it seems like I also received that one EI payment). I'm worried about that call tomorrow, and wanted a legal opinion in terms of what to say to not get into trouble - no behaviour on my end was malevolent or intentionally deceitful.
Customer
I do not currently have the budget for that call - I am just looking for a brief text answer if possible.
Customer
Is this something you can assist with? :)
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JJL11, Expert

From what you have told me, it sounds like they want to know more about your income earned during the time you were receiving EI benefits in 2019. I would advise that you try to have the documentation ready before the call tomorrow of how much income you reported to EI and how you determined how much income you had earned. I,f after the call tomorrow, EI makes the decision that you under-reported, they will calculate an overpayment for the EI benefits your received. If they decide it was an honest mistake on your part, there will be no additional penalty. So it is important when you talk to the EI officer, to establish that any misreporting or under-reporting was due to an honest mistake. If they make a decision you do not agree with, you have the right to appeal their decision. Details on how to appeal are outlined in the EI office's decision letter to you.

Customer
The income reported from self-employment and the actual income are equal, I did not 'hide' any income. If they decide that I ought to be penalized and I do not have the means to 'pay them back', is jail a possible scenario?
Customer
lastly, is there something 'wrong' with having started to focus on transitioning towards self-employment while still on EI? I did report that it was self-employment, and it made sense for me to try to make that work in order to stop needing EI. Will they audit, for instance, number of hours spent on job searching ever month and decide an outcome based on that?
Customer
thanks again. Much appreciated. I'll be sure to provide a great rating.
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JJL11, Expert

It is not only the amount of income reported but it is also the issue of "whether you were willing and available" to work if you found a job. EI will probably ask you how many hours you devoted to your self employment..If it was many hours in one day, then they might deem you to not have been available to work which is a prerequisite for continuing to get EI benefits. If they do decide you were not available to work, a decision might be made for you to repay those weeks of EI benefits. Also, even if EI decides to penalize you, there is no jail time. Contravening EI law is not criminal in nature.

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JJL11, Expert

Thank you for the great rating.

Customer
if I am 'unable' to repay those weeks of EI benefits, financially speaking, would I be in debt towards the gov? Or would I have to take a loan to pay?
Customer
I wasn't spending much time with self-employment seeing that I was just doing the occasional talk in exchange for fees, the overwhelming majority of my focus was on securing full time employment. Anyway, we'll see how the call goes.
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JJL11, Expert

Like with a debt to the Canada Revenue Agency, you can repay monies owed by installment. EI is usually quite flexible with respect to the amount paid monthly and the duration

Customer
Thank you!
Customer
How do I submit the rating? I think you have to end conversation on your end?
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JJL11, Expert

Thank you for allowing me to help you with your question. Yes, submitting a rating on your end completes our conversation and lets JustAnswer know to give me credit for assisting you. Either JA sends you a request to give me a rating or you should have a link to give a rating. A 5 star rating would be greatly appreciated if you were fully satisfied !

Customer
I'm unable to click on the rating, it says the conversation has to end first (which I'm not sure how to do).
Customer
I was going to submit 5 stars, glady.
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JJL11, Expert

I am not sure why you cannot submit the rating. I will send in an inquiry to JA and let you know. Thank you for your 5 star rating !

Customer
Please let me know asap.
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JJL11, Expert

I will not end the conversation on my end and hopefully stars for you to rate will light up.

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JJL11, Expert

Sorry, to clarify the previous typo..I will now end the conversation on my end

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