The New Social Security Tribunal (for EI, CPP and OAS Issues)

There is a new Social Security Tribunal (SST) which replaces the Board of Referees and Umpires in Employment Insurance (EI) matters and Review Tribunals and the Pension Appeals Board in Old Age Security (OAS) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) matters. The Social Security Tribunal came into effect on April 1, 2013.

Among many changes to the old appeal processes, the following are some of the most significant:

  • There will be a mandatory “reconsideration” step as a first level of review in EI matters, similar to the current reconsideration by the Minister in CPP and OAS matters.
  • All matters, at both levels of the SST, are to be heard by a single member. (Most appeal processes under the old system were heard by panels.)
  • The time limit for a second level appeal to the Appeal Division is 30 days for all appeals.
  • There is no automatic right to appeal to the next level. Appellants will have to ask for permission to appeal.
  • The SST reserves the right to choose which procedure to follow for its hearings.
  • The Tribunal may hold the “hearing” by way of: written questions and answers; video conference or teleconference; or, the personal appearance of the parties.
  • The SST is required to conduct proceedings as “informally and quickly” as possible and interpret the regulations so as to secure the “most expeditious and least expensive” determination of appeal and applications.

The new changes are cause for some concern about whether appellants will have fulsome, meaningful rights to appeal. The Rexdale Community Legal Clinic is keeping up to date with the changes and their implementation. The Clinic strongly advises that anyone looking to appeal EI, CPP or OAS decisions come to our office as early on in the process as possible so that we can give individualized, specific advice.

Excerpt from Clinic Resource Office Memo provided by Ann Schweighofer

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