20. Appointments to EI Boards of Referees

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Appointments to EI Boards of Referees are governed by section 111 of the EI Act  . Boards of Referees are tripartite, quasi-judicial administrative tribunals composed of chairpersons and panel members. Chairpersons are appointed by the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development  Chairpersons are appointed by the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, for a three-year term and may be removed for cause., for a three-year term and may be removed for cause. Other Board members are appointed by the Commissioner for Workers and the Commissioner for Employers, respectively, following consultation with labour groups or employer organizations. They are appointed for a three-year term which can be terminated under certain circumstances. There are some 1,000 Board members in Canada sitting in approximately 80 towns and cities.

Chairpersons and panel members are expected to:

  • live or work in the area serviced by the Board Centre for approximately one year and have a reasonable knowledge of the local labour market;

  • be aware of the diversity of the Canadian work force;

  • be able to communicate effectively orally and in writing in either of the two official languages, and in certain cases in both official languages;

  • be able to use a computer effectively in order to research jurisprudence over the Internet;

  • be available for at least two sessions a month;

  • not be in a situation that may create or be perceived to create a conflict of interest with respect to their functions. Conflict of interest situations must be judged individually. However, as a guideline, here are some examples of conflict of interest situations; these are intended as examples and are not all-inclusive:

    • the candidate is, or has in the last year, been an employee of Service Canada or HRSDC or

    • the candidate for a chairperson position holds, or has held in the last year, an elected public office, or acts, or has acted in the last year, on behalf of any government body;


  • if any potential conflict of interests occurs during the term of appointment of a Board member, then the respective appointing authority should be notified.

  • advise the Board of Referees Assistant of any intended absence (normally absences should not exceed 3 months and at no time should impede the efficient functioning of the Board Centre);

  • obtain a security clearance; and

  • comply with the privacy requirements inherent in their position.