CPP Disability Claims Advocacy Clinic



The Minister's Explanation of Decision under Appeal.

by Allison Schmidt 10 April 2010 14:48

When an appellant goes before a Review Tribunal the Minister of Human Resources Social Development Canada (HRSDC) is a party to the appeal.  They send a representative to the hearing to advocate the government's position as to why the appellant was denied. This is the Fed's argument and a good place to start when trying to sort out what the issues are under appeal.

In the remote past, the appellants were given these arguments at the hearing. This of course was a huge disadvantage to an appellant, as they would not be prepared for the arguments that may be made by HRSDC. So due to procedural fairness the department started to ensure these explanations were given to appellants prior to the appeal and this procedure has continued to present date.

There are many regional offices that adjudicate CPP applications. Most of the regions are very prompt in having their submissions sent to the Review Tribunal office so the appellant can prepare for the hearing and understand the issues under appeal.

However, there is a recent trend with the Ontario Chatham office - apparently there is a big problem getting information from this regional office.  This situation happened to me recently. I had a hearing adjourned in September 2009 as I submitted information two weeks prior to the hearing and the Chatham office did not have the opportunity to review the new information - we hoped that this new information may change the Fed's position.

So by the time the Review Tribunal contacted me again to reschedule the hearing - some 5 months later - we still had not heard what the Fed's position was on the new information.  Being a good representative and trying to avoid what I thought was an unnecessary hearing - I repeatedly tried to find out what was going on with the new information.

Long story short - the hearing proceeds - and I receive the Minister's explanation - 20 minutes before the hearing started. Now I am an experienced representative, I can think on my feet, but for someone who is appearing alone or with an infrequent rep - this is a huge disadvantage.

The reason I was given was that the nurses did not have time to look at the information I had given back in September 2009. Is this an isolated incident - I would like to know - please contact me at info@dcac.ca if you have also been in this position.


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