Vol. 151, No. 5 — March 8, 2017


SI/2017-16 March 8, 2017


Order Fixing March 12, 2017 as the Day on which Division 1 of Part 4 of the Act Comes into Force

P.C. 2017-160 February 24, 2017

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Employment and Social Development, pursuant to section 103 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2, chapter 12 of the Statutes of Canada, 2016, fixes March 12, 2017 as the day on which Division 1 of Part 4 of that Act comes into force.


(This note is not part of the Order.)


This Order in Council (the Order), pursuant to section 103 of Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2, chapter 12 of the Statutes of Canada, 2016 (BIA 2016, No. 2) fixes March 12, 2017, as the day on which Division 1 of Part 4 of the BIA 2016, No. 2 comes into force.


The intent of the Order is to bring into force Division 1 of Part 4 of the BIA 2016, No. 2 that amends the Employment Insurance Act (EI Act) to specify what does not constitute suitable employment for the purposes of certain provisions of the EI Act. The date of the coming into force of these amendments to the EI Act is set as March 12, 2017. Amendments to the Employment Insurance Regulations (EI Regulations) to repeal subsections 9.002(2) and (3) come into force on the same day.


The EI Act has had long-standing provisions which create an obligation for an EI claimant to actively look for, and be willing to accept, suitable employment.

As part of its Budget 2016 initiative to simplify job search responsibilities for EI claimants, the Government of Canada repealed certain criteria established in the EI Regulations that came into force on January 6, 2013, relating to suitable employment, as they were viewed as limiting flexibility for certain claimants. Specifically, regulatory criteria relating to commuting time, the wages and the type of employment were repealed and replaced by provisions specifying what is not suitable employment, as these provisions were set out in the EI Act prior to January 6, 2013. References to the claimant categories (long-tenured workers, frequent claimants, and occasional claimants) with respect to job search responsibilities were also removed from the regulatory criteria for determining what constitutes suitable employment.

These amendments to the EI Regulations came into force on July 3, 2016. Elements introduced in 2013 that take into consideration the EI claimant’s personal circumstances — such as health and family obligations — were retained and continue to be considered in determining whether a job is suitable for them.

It was subsequently determined that the provisions specifying what does not constitute suitable employment are better established in the EI Act so as to align them more directly with previously existing jurisprudence established when this concept was in the EI Act.

On December 15, 2016, BIA 2016, No. 2 amended the EI Act by adding subsections 6(4) and (5), which specify what does not constitute suitable employment for the purposes of paragraphs 18(1)(a) and 27(1)(a) to (c) and subsection 50(8) of the EI Act. The BIA 2016, No. 2 also provided that these provisions come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.

With these provisions in the EI Act, amendments are made to the EI Regulations to repeal subsections 9.002(2) and (3) of the Regulations on the same day as the day of the coming into force of the statutory amendments.


This change in the choice of legal instruments is intended to strengthen the implementation of this important element of Budget 2016 EI commitments of the Government of Canada. It does not reflect a change of policy or program operations. EI claimants will not be affected. There are no resource implications for the EI Operating Account.


A wide range of stakeholders representing organized labour, think tanks, business and small and medium-sized enterprises have supported Budget 2016 changes to EI, including simplifying job search responsibilities. During the legislative process for these amendments, there was no stakeholder reaction.


Employment Insurance Policy Directorate
Skills and Employment Branch
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, 5th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0J9
Email: nc-eipi-paer-gd@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca