Kelly Lesiuk was denied Employment Insurance (EI) benefits because, as a mother working part-time, she was unable to accumulate the number of work hours necessary to qualify. Ms. Lesiuk launched a Charter challenge to the eligibility requirements, arguing that they discriminate against women and mothers.
In March 2001, the Umpire held that the eligibility rules violated the equality guarantee in section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Employment Insurance Commission appealed the decision to the Federal Court and the case was heard on November 19 and 20, 2002. ISAC was granted intervenor status to make submissions relating to the impact for low income unemployed workers forced to rely on social assistance because of restrictive EI eligibility rules.
On January 8, 2003, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the Umpire’s verdict that EI rules violate the Charter. Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was denied later that year.