Applying for the Employment Insurance Premium Reduction Program (PRP)

Recently, some organizations have had their Employment Insurance (EI) Premium Reduction Program (PRP) application refused by Service Canada. Service Canada advised that these organizations were not eligible based on Manulife’s Short-term Disability (STD) contract wording. However, Manulife’s STD contract wording has not changed, and the Employment Insurance Regulations have not been amended.

So, what changed? Service Canada is interpreting Manulife contracts differently, regardless of the contractual wording that was approved for years. No advanced notice was given to the industry.

In an effort to resolve this, Manulife provided updated STD contract wording to Service Canada earlier this year, but this issue is not yet resolved. Manulife is currently negotiating with Service Canada to resolve this situation and to achieve a favorable outcome for our clients. The situation could take a few months to resolve. 

Important reminder

Clients who have made an amendment to their STD contract are required to reapply to EI for continuation of their premium reduction. Even if the amendment is only to change the waiting period to seven days to comply with recent legislative changes, it is likely that Service Canada will deem the application ineligible. 

For STD contracts already in force and for which the reduction of the waiting period is the only change required, we recommend that you wait until Manulife’s new STD contract wording is validated by Service Canada to make the amendment. The deadline for your plan to adhere to the new 7 day or less waiting period is January 5, 2021.

Next steps

If you have been denied a premium reduction based on Manulife’s STD contract wording, you should provide your Manulife representative with the details of the changes requested by Service Canada, and contact the PRP Agent responsible for your file before the due date noted on your letter to request an extension. 

If you have any questions, please contact your Manulife representative.