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digest of the week - “Multiple births, single number of benefits”

2013 CarswellNat 90
Martin v. Canada (Attorney General)
Federal Court of Appeal
Judgment: January 24, 2013


Public law | Social programs | Employment insurance | Entitlement to benefits | Maternity, parental, and sickness benefits

Applicant father and his spouse ("mother") became parents of twin girls — Canada Employment Insurance Commission approved mother's application for 35 weeks of parental benefits, but denied father's separate application for same, as multiple births were treated as single birth — Board of Referees allowed father's appeal and concluded that mother and father were separately entitled to 35 weeks of parental benefits because of multiple births — Umpire allowed Commission's appeal — Umpire held that Board had erred in its interpretation of relevant provisions of Employment Insurance Act — Father brought application for judicial review — Application dismissed — Umpire did not err in concluding Act did not allow each parent of twins to receive 35 weeks of parental benefits — Section 12(4)(b) of Act limited period in which parental benefits could be paid to maximum of 35 weeks for care of all children born of single pregnancy — Under s. 23 of Act, two parents who interrupted work to care for one or more newborn children were entitled to maximum of 35 weeks of benefits which they could divide as they pleased — Irrespective of number of children born of single pregnancy and irrespective of number of claimants seeking benefits as result of that pregnancy, maximum number of weeks was 35 — Other provisions of Act, such as ss. 12(4.1), 12(8) and 76.21, provided indicia that Umpire arrived at correct decision.


Public law | Social programs | Employment insurance | Constitutional issues | Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Applicant father and his spouse ("mother") became parents of twin girls — Canada Employment Insurance Commission approved mother's application for 35 weeks of parental benefits, but denied father's separate application for same, as multiple births were treated as single birth — Board of Referees allowed father's appeal and concluded that mother and father were separately entitled to 35 weeks of parental benefits because of multiple births — Umpire allowed Commission's appeal — Umpire held that ss. 7, 8, 12, and 23 of Employment Insurance Act did not infringe father's rights under s. 15(1) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that Board was correct in determining it did not have jurisdiction to decide Charter issues — Father brought application for judicial review — Application dismissed — Umpire was correct in holding that Board was correct in deciding that it had no jurisdiction to address Charter issues — Umpire did not err in determining he was bound by previous Supreme Court of Canada decision regarding jurisdiction to address Charter issue — Umpire did not err in determining parental benefits provisions did not infringe s. 15(1) of Charter — Umpire did not err in determining distinction made by Act between parents of twins and others did not create disadvantage by perpetuating prejudice or stereotyping.

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