It is 6.30am in Saskatoon and I am getting myself ready for an appeal today. This appeal will likely be my last Pension Appeals Board hearing in this city.
I have been up for a while wondering about consultation. I was asked by a gentleman if I was aware of any consultations the HRSDC Bureaucrats may have undertaken before they decided to pull the rug out from everyone's feet concerning all the changes they are making to the CPP disability appeals system.
Consultation - what a concept - perhaps the Feds should have consulted with the community it serves before they decide to foist what I believe will result in an intolerable and inaccessible appeals system on to Canadians. It appears to me that saving money and slashing and cutting back, are all that is on the agenda.
I can illustrate the importance of an in-person hearing. Yesterday I had a Pension Appeals Board hearing in front of a Panel of expert fact finders. The client - let's call him Bob, gave his evidence in a very candid and forthright manner. After three previous denials, half way through the hearing, the Minister offered Bob a settlement. It appeared that the Minister had been able to assess the appellant IN PERSON, his credibility, and how his incapacity, prevented him from being able to work. They decided he met the criteria.
I keep thinking that some how the Feds are going to come to their senses and decide that they are making a collasal mistake - for crying out loud - they do not even have an office yet for the Tribunal and it is coming up to the beginning of November - 5 months away this whole new system is supposed to come in to being. Everyone I have talked to - from the employees at HRSDC legal and medical, the staff at OCRT, the staff at the PAB, the judges and the panel members have NO IDEA what is going on.
So please all my Federal friends who read this blog in the bureaucracy - how about telling us how you plan to make this appeal system work - why don't you CONSULT with the stakeholders you are mandated to serve.
I am sure we would all appreciate it it very much.