E.I. Rules Unfair to Women

Canada's employment insurance laws are constitutionally unfair to women because, as primary caregivers, it is harder for them to work the hours needed to qualify, a tribunal ruled Thursday. "When a mother works part time because of her unpaid parental responsibilities, she should not receive inferior Employment Insurance coverage," Roger Salhany, a retired judge, said in a written decision in the case of Winnipeg nurse Kelly Lesiuk. While Mr. Salhany's ruling doesn't change the law, others hearing similar challenges could follow his lead. If his ruling is upheld on appeal to the Federal Court, Parliament would be forced to act. Mr.Salhany said the rules violate the equality provisions under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but he noted that he doesn't have the power to strike them down as unconstitutional. Ms.Lesiuk's appeal is considered the leading national case among 60 pending challenges to the act. The full text of the verdict of Ms.Lesuik's appeal is available from the CUBs website.