For those who don’t know, I’m on mat leave right now, which means I’m also on EI.  I recently got to letters from EI saying I owed them a substantial sum for a “change in insurable earnings”.  I finally got ahold of them today, and it’s a funny story.

First, I spent 30 minutes redialling just to be allowed into the wait-queue. That’s not the funny part.

When I got through I found out that the overpayment was because they paid me for time spent on short-term disability (as declared in my EI application). Also not the funny part.

Then the conversation went like this:

Me: “So I should just write a cheque then for the – ”
Her: “No no no no. Don’t write a cheque”
Me: “But this is a bill, it says to send payment”
Her: “Yes it is a bill. You have a grace period of x days to pay it. But I can tell you what will happen. You will send the cheque. It will go to Quebec (I was talking to Kingston). By the time they cash the cheque and it gets back to our office, the grace period will have expired and we will have deducted it from your payments, and you’ll be on the phone with me again to ask why your payments have suddenly dropped”
Me: “Seriously?”
Her: “Yup.”
Me: “So there’s no penalty if I don’t pay it?”
Her: “Nope”

Ladies and gentlemen, your tax dollars at work.