My Small Experience with HR Canada

In May 2001 I needed to leave my job to become a PhD student, with the hope to continue my career in my new country, Canada. Unsecure about my future finances as a student, I applied to Human Resources Development Canada (HR Canada) for employment benefits, as I considered I had the numbers of insurance hours fulfilled. I did NOT hope too much to get unemployment (thanks God I have a schoolarship) but I thought that was my right to apply, so I did it.

Briefly, in the last year (previous my unemployment application) with my last job I worked the first 6 months full time (therefore about 900 hrs) and the last 6 months part-time (417 hrs). Adding together, that comes to ~1300 hrs (and the minimum required for Ontario is about 700 hrs). So I considered I would qualify, but I didn't.

I do NOT contest here the result of my application here, I respect it. But I want to show the continuing confusing answers I got from HR Canada, after filling in all the applications, providing all the necessary documents, submitting them in time, all of this effort taking four months (!!), till I got the definitive answer (after two appeals). I just contest here my lost time, due to the confusing answers I got from two insurance agents of the HR. And just think what would happen to someone that would need to look for a job in this time, having no other income!?!

Here are some confusing answers I got from HR (I just covered the sensitive information):

The first answer I got from HR. They are saying I don't qualify because I "have accumulated 417 hours of insurable unemployment between May 8, 2000 and May 5, 2001", but this is not true!

A letter from my last job informing HR that I "had 762.32 days of total insurable hours" and I "did have at least 500 hours".

The second answer from HR. Now the main reason of denial changed :-) because I "have quit my job without just cause". Later, more confusion: "You have not worked enough since quitting that job to get benefits"! Strange, I've read the law on the web before applying for my benefits, and cf. to it, one has to have the number of hours BEFORE quitting the job!!

Another letter from HR having the same data as the previous denial letter. Big surprise here: it states "your claim for benefits has been allowed this time"!

Then I sent another (the second) letter to HR complaining again about the confusion.. then I considered to appeal (to the "Board of Referees")

Finally the last answer from the Board (after my appeal). I'm still confused about the second part of it, but I respect it but I hope I won't have to do anymore with HR Canada!

Just looking to my case and the confusing answers I got from HR Canada, I had the impression that some agents there do not annalyse seriously each case, and just send letters including pre-defined answers that happens to do not match the applicant's case, increasing the confussion and frustration!

PS: By the way, I did not left my job (with a GREAT company) "without just cause", but because I hoped to continue my former career (I was a researcher for 6 years in Romania)!