Every person who is receiving Employment Insurance (EI) must demonstrate that they are “capable of and available for work and unable to find suitable employment”. Applicants are expected to send out resumes and fill in application forms every week in an effort to find “suitable employment”. Failure to seek work may result in EI being withdrawn, with the potential that Service Canada may seek repayment of any benefit paid. In addition, claiming EI without seeking employment may be considered to be fraud, which can attract financial penalties or lead to prosecution. Fraudulent claims can also result in more hours having to be worked before an individual is entitled to EI in the future.
The best method of collecting job search information is to keep a diary, in which all your job search activity is recorded. You may never be asked to present this information but, should a query ever arise, having a detailed job search diary will be the best possible evidence that you have been actively looking for work during the period of your EI claim.
In your job search diary, record the date on which each action takes place. If you make a telephone call, send out a resume, or search a newspaper for vacancies, jot down the date on which the activity tool place. Ensure that you write down everything you do in your efforts to find a job. Remember to include less formal activities, such as conversations with ex-colleagues and internet searches of online job sites. While these may not lead to an offer of employment, the activity shows a determination to secure work.
Your job search diary should include details of each prospective employer, including the name and address of the company and the name of the person handling the vacancy. This information is required to allow contact with the potential employer to be made, should a query arise about your job search activities.
Make a note of the job title applied for. This is a key issue because you will need to evidence that you have been searching for “suitable employment”. If you have been sending out resumes for jobs that demand qualifications or experience that you do not possess, the employment will not be deemed “suitable”.
If you are fortunate enough to secure an interview, make a note of the names of the interview panel. These may be required if follow up activity is required to check the authenticity of your job search activity.
Ensure that you make a note of the outcome of each application. If you receive a letter of rejection, retain it and add place it in a folder. While you may not want to be reminded that you have not been successful, this evidence may be vital if a concern arises about the legitimacy of your job search activities. If you are notified of an unsuccessful application by telephone, write down the date and time of the conversation and the name of the person you spoke with.
Some EI claimants are asked to complete an active job search statement, which will request:
If an EI claimant has not kept a job search diary during the period of his EI claim, it can be extremely difficult to recall these details.