B. H. v. Canada Employment Insurance Commission

Institution:
Social Security Tribunal decision - General Division - Employment Insurance Section
Member:
Eleni Palantzas
Hearing date:
July 8, 2015
Hearing type:
Teleconference
Between:
B. H. and Canada Employment Insurance Commission
Decision:
Appeal allowed in part
Decision date:
July 31, 2015
Reference number:
GE-15-539
Citation:
B. H. v. Canada Employment Insurance Commission, 2015 SSTGDEI 131

Reasons and decision

Persons in attendance

The Claimant attended the hearing by teleconference together with his representative, Mr. Marshall Reinhart.

Introduction

[1] The Claimant made an initial claim for employment insurance regular benefits that was effective June 2, 2013. On July 17, 2014 however, the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (Commission) determined that the Claimant was not entitled to receive any benefits because he took a one-month leave from his employment without just cause. The Commission also disqualified the Claimant from receiving any benefits because it determined that he voluntarily left his employment without just cause when he subsequently did not return to work after his leave. On October 2, 2014, the Claimant requested that the Commission reconsider these decisions however; on January 12, 2015, the Commission maintained its decisions.

[2] On February 11, 2015, the Claimant appealed to the General Division of the Social Security Tribunal (Tribunal).

[3] The hearing was held by teleconference because the Claimant and his representative were going to be the only parties in attendance at the hearing; the credibility of the parties was not anticipated to be a prevailing issue, and the complexity of the appeal.

[4] On March 30, 2015, the hearing of May 20, 2015 was adjourned to June 2, 2015 because the Claimant advised the Tribunal that he would not be available (GD6). On May 20, 2015, the Claimant requested another adjournment due to familial obligations outside of the country (GD9). Although the Member offered to proceed with the scheduled hearing by arranging an international teleconference, the Claimant’s representative preferred an adjournment to June 24, 2015. In order to provide the Claimant the opportunity to be heard, the Member granted this second adjournment request (GD11). The Claimant’s representative called again and noted that the Claimant was going to be back in the country until July 1, 2015 and asked to reschedule the hearing. In order to ensure that the Claimant participates in his hearing, the Member accommodated the Claimant and his representative one final time and scheduled the hearing for July 8, 2015. This was a peremptory decision (GD12).

Issues

[5] The Member must decide whether the Claimant should not be entitled to receive benefits from July 12, 2013 to August 12, 2013 because he voluntarily took a period of leave from his employment without just cause pursuant to section 32 of the Employment Insurance Act (EI Act).

[6] The Member must decide whether the Claimant should be disqualified from receiving any benefits from August 11, 2013 because he voluntarily left his employment without just cause pursuant to section 29 and 30 of the EI Act.

The law

Voluntary Leave of Absence

[7] Subsection 32(1) of the EI Act stipulates that a claimant who voluntarily takes a period of leave from their employment without just cause is not entitled to receive benefits if, before or after the beginning of the period of leave,

  1. (a) the period of leave was authorized by the employer; and
  2. (b) the claimant and the employer agreed as to the day on which the claimant would resume employment.

[8] Subsection 32(2) of the EI Act stipulates that the disentitlement lasts until the claimant

  1. (a) resumes the employment;
  2. (b) loses or voluntarily leaves the employment; or
  3. (c) after the beginning of the period of leave, accumulates with another employer the number of hours of insurable employment required by section 7 or 7.1 to qualify to receive benefits.

Voluntary Leaving

[9] Section 29 of the EI Act stipulates that for the purposes of sections 30 and 33,

  1. (a) “employment” refers to any employment of the claimant within their qualifying period or their benefit period;
  2. (b) loss of employment includes a suspension from employment, but does not include loss of, or suspension from, employment on account of membership in, or lawful activity connected with, an association, organization or union of workers;
  3. (b.1) voluntarily leaving an employment includes
    1. (i) the refusal of employment offered as an alternative to an anticipated loss of employment, in which case the voluntary leaving occurs when the loss of employment occurs,
    2. (ii) the refusal to resume an employment, in which case the voluntary leaving occurs when the employment is supposed to be resumed, and
    3. (iii) the refusal to continue in an employment after the work, undertaking or business of the employer is transferred to another employer, in which case the voluntary leaving occurs when the work, undertaking or business is transferred; and
  4. (c) just cause for voluntarily leaving an employment or taking leave from an employment exists if the claimant had no reasonable alternative to leaving or taking leave, having regard to all the circumstances, including any of the following:
    1. (i) sexual or other harassment,
    2. (ii) obligation to accompany a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child to another residence,
    3. (iii) discrimination on a prohibited ground of discrimination within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act,
    4. (iv) working conditions that constitute a danger to health or safety,
    5. (v) obligation to care for a child or a member of the immediate family,
    6. (vi) reasonable assurance of another employment in the immediate future,
    7. (vii) significant modification of terms and conditions respecting wages or salary,
    8. (viii) excessive overtime work or refusal to pay for overtime work,
    9. (ix) gnificant changes in work duties,
    10. (x) antagonism with a supervisor if the claimant is not primarily responsible for the antagonism,
    11. (xi) practices of an employer that are contrary to law,
    12. (xii) discrimination with regard to employment because of membership in an association, organization or union of workers,
    13. (xiii) undue pressure by an employer on the claimant to leave their employment, and
    14. (xiv) any other reasonable circumstances that are prescribed.

[10] Subsection 30(1) of the EI Act stipulates that a claimant is disqualified from receiving any benefits if the claimant lost any employment because of their misconduct or voluntarily left any employment without just cause, unless

  1. (a) the claimant has, since losing or leaving the employment, been employed in insurable employment for the number of hours required by section 7 or 7.1 to qualify to receive benefits; or
  2. (b) the claimant is disentitled under sections 31 to 33 in relation to the employment.

[11] Subsection 30(2) of the EI Act stipulates that the disqualification is for each week of the claimant's benefit period following the waiting period and, for greater certainty, the length of the disqualification is not affected by any subsequent loss of employment by the claimant during the benefit period.

Evidence

[12] The Claimant applied for employment insurance regular benefits on April 23, 2013 that was made effective June 2, 2013.

[13] His record of employment shows that he was laid-off on June 1, 2013 due to a shortage of work (GD3-13). The Claimant requested a one-month leave of absence that was granted by the employer from July 12, 2013 until August 12, 2013. The employer advised the Commission that they attempted to contact the Claimant several times by phone from August 13, 2013 until September 12, 2013. The Claimant did not contact the employer so they determined that he had abandoned his job and on September 16, 2013, they sent him a termination letter. The letter was returned as undeliverable (GD3-20 and GD3-23).

[14] The employer advised the Commission that prior to the lay-off he was working 24-32 hours/week and during the lay-off he was getting 8-16 hours/week. The employer provided timesheets that show from January 11, 2013 to May 31, 2013, the Claimant worked 20.25 hours/week. The first week of June he worked 29 hours and during the second week he worked 14 hours. From June 16, 2013 to July 13, 2013 the employer stated that they did not have any work to provide the Claimant except during one of these four weeks, they tried to contact him for two days but there was no answer. The Claimant went to the employer during the lay-off on July 8 or 9, 2013 and asked for a leave of absence stating that he would be back on August 12, 2013. The Claimant asked for the record of employment because he could not survive on one or two shifts/week and that he wanted to look for a job in Montreal where he has family. There was an understanding that the Claimant would not be called into work during the leave of absence because he was leaving the city. The employer advised the Commission that at the time that the Claimant requested a leave of absence there was work available, no fixed hours, part-time. The employer stated that they tried to contact the Claimant to give him more hours because the full-time maintenance worker resigned. The employer indicated that they tried to call him at his regular number, emergency number and through a co-worker (GD3-34 to GD3-46).

[15] To the Commission, the Claimant confirmed that he took a leave of absence and moved to Montreal in order to pursue studies at Concordia University that were to start in January 2015, to seek more suitable employment and to work with family (he was 15% owner of his brother’s business which was not yet in operation). He confirmed that he did not call the employer after his leave of absence. He stated to the Commission that he was not aware that his employer was trying to contact him about a full-time employment. He noted that the employer could have emailed him. The Claimant explained that he was not happy at his previous employment because they did not have a full-time position, he was being called in last-minute and, because the work was not suitable (GD3-24 and GD3-34).

[16] On August 22, 2013, the Claimant was accepted to graduate studies for a Master of Engineering (Civil) program at Concordia University to start January 2014 (GD3-15 to GD3-19).

[17] On July 17, 2014, the Commission advised the Claimant that it was unable to pay him any benefits starting August 11, 2013 because he voluntarily left his employment on August 13, 2013 without just cause within the meaning of the EI Act. The Commission determined that voluntarily leaving his employment was not his only reasonable alternative. Furthermore, the Commission determined that the Claimant did not have just cause of taking a leave from his employment from July 12, 2013 to August 12, 2013 (GD3-26 and GD3-27). The Commission’s decisions resulted in an overpayment of benefits in the amount of $11, 526.00 (GD3-53 to GD3-55).

[18] On October 2, 2014, the Claimant requested that the Commission reconsider its decision. The Claimant indicated that leaving his employment was the only reasonable alternative given the circumstances and that he was willing, able and seeking employment. He explained that he worked on a casual part-time basis where he was offered shifts when someone could not work as scheduled. He typically worked one or two 8-hour shifts a week up to 35 hours, and eventually, one shift every two weeks. His work was nothing remotely related to his education and experience as a structural engineer and his salary significantly lower than an entry level engineer position. His hours had been significantly reduced and he was provided very short advanced notice so the worsening situation was becoming intolerable. In June 2013 he decided to go to Montreal to explore career opportunities that his research and friends indicated were more abundant and more conducive to his experience and education. He also went to explore the possibility of pursuing a second Master’s degree at Concordia University. In order to ‘play it safe’ he requested that his employer hold his job for a month. He did not go to Montreal with the intention of attending university. While there he began applying for jobs immediately and so concluded that he would have more success finding suitable employment in Montreal than Toronto, so he decided to stay and move his family there. The Claimant contends that after moving to Montreal he was actively job searching and although accepted at Concordia, he did not register or attend due to costs. He learned from the Commission that there was a full-time Maintenance Manager position available at his prior employer in September 2013. Although his number changed, the employer had his email on file, yet did not contact him regarding the job opening (GD3-28 to GD3-33).

[19] On January 12, 2015, the Commission contacted the Claimant and his representative to review the employer’s statements and his reasons for the separation. The Claimant’s representative was advised that the Claimant made the personal choice to place himself in an unemployment situation rather than to stay employed part-time while he looked for other work more suited to his qualifications. Although the Claimant did not end up enrolling in graduate studies at Concordia University, at the time that the Claimant left his employment, he was waiting to be accepted with the intent of not returning to Toronto. The Claimant was advised by the Commission that it is maintaining both the decision to disentitle him to benefits during the period of his leave from July 12, 2103 to August 21, 2013 and, to disqualify him from benefits as of August 22, 2013 because he voluntarily took a leave and then left his employment without just cause (GD3-49 and GD3-50).

[20] At the hearing, the Claimant testified that when he told his employer he wanted to take a leave, he was told to be back in a month. He testified that he requested the leave because (a) prior to the leave of absence he was being provided with more hours, then a colleague came back and he was given less hours of work and without much notice (b) he wanted to obtain Canadian credentials so he applied to Concordia and (c) he moved to Montreal so that he has a local fixed address on his resume (as soon as he did that, he was called to two interviews). The Claimant testified that he looked for work in Montreal prior to moving there but he was told to move there and have a fixed address. He moved to Montreal on June 13, 2013 and two weeks later, he moved his family there because he had to sign a one-year lease. One year later, on June 13, 2014 they returned to Toronto.

[21] The Claimant testified that he had no alternative but to take the leave of absence because in Toronto he sent out thousands of resumes but he was never called back. The Claimant stated that 6 months prior to leaving, he spoke to the hiring Manager and the Maintenance Manager, asking that they provide him with even one fixed shift however, he was told to wait. He asked the union for another job in another hotel, but he was told that others senior to him have to be given those shifts and they could not promise him anything. Plus, he thought he would be eligible for employment insurance benefits and based on that information, he made his decision. The Claimant testified that he was ‘drowning’ with so little work. His representative stated that the Claimant’s hours were cut, “the job was drying up” and so he could have just stayed employed in name only, or he could have explored other alternatives that would open up some opportunities.

[22] Regarding his brother’s business, the Claimant testified that this was not a real option (or reason) for work because it was/still is, just a website and an idea. His brother registered a company and was optimistic that he would make it operational at some point.

[23] With respect to his leaving his employment (not returning as of August 12, 2013), the Claimant testified that he did not call his employer after his approved leave ended. The Claimant testified that since the employer always called him, and he did not receive a call from his employer (after the 30 day leave of absence), that meant that there were no shifts to work. He testified that he had his phone and he waited until September 3, 2013.

[24] The Claimant was asked why he did not return to his job after his leave of absence while he looked for other work. The Claimant testified that when he moved to Montreal, he “was stuck there” for one year because he had signed a one-year lease, phone, internet, etc., so he couldn’t come back; felt committed and couldn’t make changes. He therefore, stayed and looked for work in Montreal. The Claimant was asked why he didn’t secure a job in Montreal first and then leave his employment. The Claimant stated that he was told that he required a fixed address in Montreal and when he did, he was called for interviews. He thought it was better to job search there. The Claimant stated that he had no alternative but to leave because his employer only gave him casual shift work and kept him part-time so that they don’t have to provide him with benefits.

[25] The Claimant testified that he had provided his employer with his email and his brother’s phone number and he had a friend at his previous address. He did not receive the termination letter (GD3-23) which does not have an address on it. He did not receive a letter of offer and the termination letter does not mention an offer.

Submissions

[26] The Claimant submitted that

  1.  he had no alternative but to take a leave of absence having no success securing work in Toronto; he spoke to the hiring Manager, Maintenance Manager to provide him with even one fixed shift; asked the union for another job in another hotel; he couldn’t survive on so little work plus, he thought he would be eligible for employment insurance benefits.
  2. his decision to voluntarily leave his employment was his only reasonable alternative given his circumstances; he was over-qualified for the type of unskilled, dead-end, low- paying, casual part-time janitorial work that he was doing; he believed that he would have more success securing suitable work in Montreal. It is unfair to require him to continue to work in an unsuitable job.

[27] The Commission submitted that

  1.  regarding the leave of absence, the Claimant did not demonstrate just cause for taking a leave of absence from his employer because he did not exhaust all reasonable alternatives prior to taking the leave including, remaining employed with his employer until his brother’s business became operational or, remaining employed until he secured suitable employment in Montreal, or while exploring the possibility of returning to university and waiting until actually making a commitment to return to university.
  2. the Claimant voluntarily left his employment without showing just cause; he provided several reasons for leaving however the employer was able to provide him with some shifts after his lay-off date of June 1, 2013 and a full-time position did become available; the Claimant should have remained employed until he had secure other more suitable employment; leaving a job with the intention of return to school is a personal choice and there was no reason he could not continue working until he decided to actually enroll in school in January 2014; he had no assurance of immediate employment (with his brother or otherwise) when he left his employment and relocating to Montreal with his family was a personal choice that put him in an unemployment situation.

Analysis

Voluntary Leave of Absence

[28] According to section 32 of the EI Act, a claimant who voluntarily takes a period of leave from their employment without just cause is not entitled to receive benefits if the period of leave was authorized by the employer, and the claimant and employer agreed as to the day on which the claimant would resume employment. In this case, it is undisputed evidence that the employer authorized the leave and the two parties agreed that the Claimant would start his leave on July 12, 2013 and return to work on August 12, 2013. The case turns therefore, on whether the Claimant had just cause for taking the leave of absence.

[29] According to subsection 29(c) of the EI Act, just cause for voluntarily leaving an employment or taking leave from an employment exists if the claimant had no reasonable alternative to leaving or taking leave, having regard to all the circumstances, including those listed in that subsection.

[30] The Member therefore considered the evidence and the circumstances at the time that the Claimant decided to voluntarily take a leave of absence and finds that the Claimant has shown just cause for the reasons to follow.

[31] According to the employer, the Claimant requested a leave of absence on July 8th or 9th, 2013 without providing notice. This would make sense since both parties agree that the leave of absence started immediately on July 12, 2013 and the Claimant testified that he was told by his employer to be back in a month. The Member notes that although at the time he requested the leave of absence, the Claimant had already relocated his family to Montreal; he did not quit his employment at this time. Instead he wanted to “play it safe” and requested that his employer hold his job for a month. The Member therefore considered whether the Claimant exhausted all reasonable alternatives prior to taking the leave of absence on July 8, 2013.

[32] The Claimant submitted that, given the circumstances and having considered all other reasonable options, he had to take a leave of absence to go and explore other suitable employment and academic credentials in Montreal. The Claimant testified that for months prior to requesting the leave, he had no success securing other work in Toronto despite sending out several resumes. He exhausted all options with his employer as well, having spoken to the hiring Manager and the Maintenance Manager requesting that they provide him with even one fixed shift. They however, they were unable to accommodate him. He also asked the union for another job in another hotel but again, given his seniority they could not promise him anything. The Claimant also testified that prior to the leave of absence he was given less hours of work without much notice and during the lay-off he was given no hours of work for the three weeks prior to taking the leave. He could not survive and support his family on so few hours of employment.

[33] The Member considered that the Claimant’s testimony was supported by the timesheets submitted by the employer. It is undisputed evidence that the Claimant was laid-off on June 1, 2013. The timesheets show that from June 16, 2013 to July 13, 2013 the Claimant did not work at all. The employer confirmed to the Commission that this was the case, not because he was not available, but because they did not have any work to offer the Claimant. The Member notes that although the employer did indicate that during one of these four weeks, they tried to contact him for two days of work however, the employer was not specific or sure of the dates (GD3-46). The employer also confirmed that during the leave of absence there was an understanding that the Claimant would not be called into work (GD3-36). The Member therefore finds that for the period of June 16, 2013 to July 13, 2013, just prior to the leave of absence, the employer had no work for the Claimant.

[34] The Member also considered the Commission’s submission that the Claimant did not exhaust all reasonable alternatives prior to taking the leave including, remaining employed with his employer until he secured suitable employment in Montreal or his brother’s business became operational or while exploring/waiting to return to university. The Member notes however, that the Claimant testified that he applied to other suitable employment in Montreal from Toronto but his efforts were unsuccessful and he was told that he required a local fixed address. Once he did that, he was called for two interviews. The Member finds therefore that not taking a leave of absence, remaining in Toronto with no work/salary, while he attempted to secure employment in Montreal, was not a reasonable alternative in this case. Plus, the Claimant testified that although he considered working in his brother’s business, it was not a real option (or reason) for work. Similarly, although he considered obtaining Canadian academic credentials, he never enrolled due to costs. The Claimant could have remained on lay-off status and stayed in Toronto while considering these latter options however, it would not have been a reasonable alternative given the financial hardship he was experiencing at the time. The Claimant’s primary reason for requesting the leave of absence when he did was because the employer had laid him off and they were unable to provide him with any employment for four weeks prior to taking the leave. Further, over several months prior to the lay-off, the Claimant had already exhausted all other reasonable options while remaining employed. The Member finds therefore that under these circumstances, taking a leave to explore any other potential opportunities for employment was the only reasonable option leftt for the Claimant.

[35] The Member therefore, having regard to all the circumstances, finds that the Claimant has shown just cause for voluntarily taking a leave of absence from July 12, 2013 to August 12, 2013, and is therefore entitled to benefits during this period pursuant to section 32 of the EI Act.

Voluntary Leaving

[36] Sections 29 and 30 of the EI Act stipulate that a claimant who voluntarily leaves his/her employment is disqualified from receiving any benefits unless he/she can establish ‘just cause’ for leaving.

[37] The Member recognizes that it has been a well-established principle that just cause exists where, having regard to all the circumstances, the Claimant was left with no reasonable alternative to leaving pursuant to subsection 29(c) of the EI Act (Patel A-274-09, Bell A-450-95, Landry A- 1210-92, Astronomo A-141-97, Tanguay A-1458-84).

[38] The Member first considered that it is incumbent of the Commission to show that the Claimant left his employment voluntarily. In this case, it is undisputed evidence that the Claimant left his employment on August 12, 2013 after his leave of absence ended; when he did not return nor contact his employer and was considered to have abandoned his employment. The Member therefore finds that the Claimant left his employment voluntarily on August 12, 2013.

[39] The onus of proof then shifts to the Claimant to show that he left his employment for just cause (White A-381-10, Patel A-274-09).

[40] The Member first considered the circumstances referred to subsection 29(c) and whether any existed at the time the Claimant took leave from his employment. According to case law, these circumstances must be assessed as of that time (Lamonde A-566-04). In this case, the Member considered the reasons that the Claimant provided for not returning to his employment after his leave of absence ended. The Member specifically considered whether the Claimant experienced a significant modification of terms and conditions respecting wages or salary, pursuant to paragraph 29(c)(vii) of the EI Act since the Claimant submitted that he was in a dead- end, low-paying, casual job and that just prior to taking a leave of absence, the employer was unable to give him any hours of work. The Member finds however, that although the Claimant was able to show that this was indeed that case up until the time he took a leave on July 12, 2013 (see findings above), he did not meet that onus at the time that he voluntarily left his employment from August 12, 2013 onward. The circumstances at his place of employment on July 12, 2013 (no work hours available) were different than on August 12, 2013 when the Claimant quit his employment. The employer stated to the Commission that they tried to contact the Claimant on several occasions and through various means from August 13, 2013 until September 12, 2013 to give him more hours because a full-time maintenance worker had resigned, but they were unsuccessful. The Claimant did not offer any evidence to rebut the employer’s submission because he admittedly did not contact his employer after his leave of absence. The Member finds therefore that there is no evidence that the Claimant experienced a significant modification of terms and conditions respecting wages or salary, when he left his employment on August 12, 2013, pursuant to paragraph 29(c)(vii) of the EI Act.

[41] The Member also considered the Claimant’s submission that he was over-qualified for the type of unskilled, dead-end, low-paying, casual part-time janitorial work that he was performing. He believed that he would have more success securing suitable work in Montreal. The Member finds however that these reasons for leaving his employment on August 12, 2013; do not fall under one of the considerations indicated in paragraph 29(c) of the EI Act.

[42] Further, the Claimant is reminded that the onus is on him to demonstrate that he exhausted all reasonable alternatives prior to leaving his employment. In this case, the Member agrees with the Commission that returning to work after his leave of absence had ended on August 12, 2013 was a reasonable alternative that the Claimant did not exhaust prior to quitting. Had the Claimant contacted his employer at the end of his leave, he would have been advised that a co-worker had resigned and a full-time position had become available. The Claimant however, did not consider returning to his employer as an alternative to unemployment having already relocated his family to Montreal regardless of the outcome of his efforts during the leave of absence and/or whether the employer had work for him. The Claimant had no justification for not contacting his employer at any time after his leave of absence ended. His testimony that his employer always called him when work was available is not a reasonable explanation under these circumstances because he was expected to have returned to Toronto and be available for work as of August 12, 2013. The employer made reasonable efforts to contact the Claimant whereas the Claimant made no effort to contact his employer and advise of his availability.

[43] The Member understands that the Claimant was unhappy and dissatisfied with his employment; however, it is not unreasonable to expect that the Claimant consider returning to his employer, who now had work for him, while he explored alternatives such as other suitable work, furthering his education or business opportunities with his brother. The Member therefore finds that the Claimant has not shown that he exhausted all reasonable alternatives prior to voluntarily leaving is employment. Additionally, the Claimant made the personal choice to leave when he did and voluntarily placed himself in an unemployment situation.

[44] Undoubtedly, the Claimant, given his reasons for wanting to leave the employer, was dissatisfied with his employment for several months prior to leaving. The Member therefore, also considered that it has been well established in case law that a claimant’s dissatisfaction with one’s work conditions, does not generally constitute just cause under the EI Act, unless they are so intolerable that the claimant had no other choice but to leave (CUB 74765). The Member finds that such conditions did not exist and the Claimant had several options other than to quit when he did. In this case, the Claimant accepted the employment terms under which he worked since being hired as a casual part-time maintenance worker. Although he was unhappy with the job had chosen to perform despite his qualifications and experience, he did not demonstrate that the working conditions were so intolerable that he had to leave on August 12, 2013.

[45] Finally, the Member considered that the Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that the purpose of the EI Act is to compensate persons whose employment has terminated involuntarily and who are without work (Gagnon [1988] SCR 29). In this case however, the Claimant voluntarily placed himself in an unemployment situation in order to relocate his family to Montreal without checking to see whether the lay-off had ended and/or any work could be provided to him.

[46] The Member understands that the Claimant felt that he had good reasons to move where there were better work opportunities for him and that he should not be required to continue to work in an unsuitable job in order to qualify for employment insurance benefits. The Member notes however, that the Federal Court has found that the words "just cause" in section 29 of the EI Act are not synonymous with "reason" or "motive". It is not sufficient for the claimants to prove that they were quite reasonable in leaving their employment. Reasonableness may be "good cause", but it is not necessarily "just cause" (Tanguay A-1458-84). In this case, the Claimant may have had ‘good cause’ to leave his employment however; he did not demonstrate that he exhausted all reasonable alternatives prior to leaving and therefore did not have “just cause” for leaving his employment pursuant to subsection 29(c) of the EI Act.

[47] The Member therefore, having regard to all the circumstances, finds that the Claimant has not shown just cause for voluntarily leaving his employment on August 13, 2013, and is therefore disqualified from any benefits pursuant to sections 29 and 30 of the EI Act.

Conclusion

[48] The appeal regarding his voluntarily leave of absence is allowed. The Claimant is therefore entitled to receive benefits from July 12, 2013 to August 12, 2013.

[49] The appeal regarding his voluntarily leaving his employment is dismissed. The Claimant is therefore disqualified from receiving any benefits from August 11, 2013 onward.

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