January 5, 2018                       Gatineau, Quebec             Government of Canada

“The delays Canadians experience during the appeal process at all levels at the Social Security Tribunal (SST) are unacceptable. To identify improvements, I commissioned a review of the overall appeal process. The SST Review Report is now available.

Through this review, we are following the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) and the Employment Insurance Service Quality Review, to assess the efficiency, fairness and transparency of the SST. These reviews provide valuable insight to deliver high quality, client-centric services to Canadians, now and into the future.

The Report recommends a number of changes that reflect what Canadians have said through extensive consultations across the country. I am committed to making significant and meaningful changes to the recourse process. This includes placing Canadians at the heart of the process by responding to concerns related to reconsideration and all levels of appeal. These changes will focus on new support to assist people with their appeal, a process that will be shorter, particularly for Employment Insurance (EI) cases, and timely decisions which clearly explain why benefits are granted or denied and what other recourse is available to Canadians.

We are developing a comprehensive action plan that will focus on both short and long term improvements that are important to Canadians and stakeholders: providing a recourse process which is client-centric, faster and simpler.  In addition to assessing all options in the Report, we will also consider options that go beyond the recommendations to ensure we achieve the overarching objective of providing a system which is accountable and meets the needs of Canadians. Stakeholders will have a role in shaping the renewal of the recourse process through their continued engagement as changes are explored and implemented. I intend to release an action plan that reflects input from stakeholders in the coming months and report on progress.

This action plan will be a continuation of the actions already taken to improve the appeals process. This includes more than a 70% reduction in the number of Income Security appeals waiting for a hearing and decision at the first level of appeal, compared to March 2015 when the number of appeals was at an all-time high. I am committed to taking actions which will result in similar improvements for all appeals, including EI cases.

As we look at the overall functioning of the SST, we will continue to appoint additional members over the course of the next year, to ensure it has the capacity to both deliver on the renewal of the appeal process and make timely decisions. The recruitment process for SST members will emphasize the need to provide people with a client-centric system.

Our government is committed to doing better and we will do so with transformative actions to support a recourse system that will be more efficient, fair and transparent.”

– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

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