June 5, 2018 / Toronto / The Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (CSALC) is raising concerns over problematic practices and scams in relation to the filing of Employment Insurance Claims by certain for-profit service agencies in the Chinese community.
CSALC, a community legal aid clinic that services low-income, non-English speaking Chinese and Southeast Asian communities in Ontario, has witnessed an increased number of cases where applicants of Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits are being investigated and charged by Service Canada for misrepresentation due to fraudulent medical certificates, and other alleged fraudulent claims.
This kind of practice affects cases where applicants were genuinely ill at the time of application and, due to linguistic barriers and lack of knowledge about the EI system, relied on the services of unregulated, for-profit service agencies to help file their claims. These agencies then refer clients to private health clinics to obtain EI medical certificates, which were later found by Service Canada to have been signed by individuals who are not regulated health professionals, or have other issues that call into question the legitimacy of the claims.
As a result of these unscrupulous practices by for-profit service agencies, innocent applicants are being denied EI benefits.
This trend is occurring at the same time when Statistics Canada is conducting an Employment Insurance Coverage Survey to better understand issues claimants face in accessing EI benefits.
As CSALC has pointed out in the survey, racialized communities, particularly communities with large immigrant populations, face linguistic and other barriers when applying for EI and other government services.
In light of these barriers, CSALC has called on the EI Commission to provide information regarding application processes in different languages, including the options of translating decision letters, and providing a list of community resources that clients can access for help.
EI Commission should similarly outreach to communities regarding investigations and prosecutions of unscrupulous for-profit service agencies while avoiding prosecuting and punishing otherwise innocent applicants.
CSALC remind members of the Chinese community that a number of not-for-profit community based service providers and agencies exist to help individuals apply for EI and other government services for free. Engaging the services of unregulated, for-profit service agencies is both unnecessarily risky and costly.
For more information, please contact:
Avvy Go, Clinic Director, Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic