canada unemployment benefits form
© Jesse Johnston/The Canadian Press file photo
Internal government documents show that the Liberals' pledge to prevent unvaccinated people from accessing jobless benefits didn't eliminate all avenues for them to enter the EI system.
The employment insurance section of the Government of Canada website is shown on a laptop in Toronto on April 4, 2020. Internal government documents show that the Liberals' pledge to prevent unvaccinated people from accessing jobless benefits didn't eliminate all avenues for them to enter the EI system. Jesse Johnston/The Canadian Press file photo

Internal government documents show that the Liberals' pledge to prevent unvaccinated people from accessing jobless benefits didn't eliminate all avenues for them to enter the employment insurance system.

The briefing notes prepared for Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough say that unvaccinated workers could qualify for EI sickness benefits, even if they are sick with COVID-19.

The laws guiding the social safety net program don't have any explicit rules around eligibility for EI for anyone who refused to get vaccinated.

Disobeying clear vaccine policies seen as noncompliance in EI claims: Qualtrough - Oct 24, 2021:


While Qualtrough was told the government could put rules around regular jobless benefits, officials suggested the same couldn't be said of sickness benefits.

Documents prepared by Qualtrough's department last fall suggest officials advised against preventing access to sickness benefits and removing an incentive for ill workers to stay home with symptoms.

The details are contained in documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act that outline some of the moves inside government as officials readied for a wave of layoffs for workers who refused to get vaccinated.