It has been a busy six months with a lot of work to be done here at DCAC Inc. We continue to be the premier service for individuals who have been denied their CPP disability benefits or who need help with the application process. We now have 12 staff members across Canada and we continue to grow.
Early this year the KMPG report was released. This report was commissioned by Minister Duclos in order to review the SST's processes to ensure it met the needs and expectations of Canadians, as well as to assess its fairness and transparency. The comprehensive report highlighted a number of facts which I will present over the next months, to inform Canadians about what is new and evolving in the Canada Pension Plan disability forum.
I have included several newspaper articles on the DCAC Facebook feed as this is more timely than my ability to blog sometimes! If you have not liked the DCAC page - you will find a link to it on the website.
I would like to start with a summary of the Key Findings - overall the review found that:
- The SST was born out of the previous government's initiative to save $25 million dollars and was announced in the Federal Budget without the benefit of any stakeholder engagement. The SST inherited a large backlog of appeal cases before they had staff, systems, or processes in place.
- The total cost of the SST is lower than the cost of the four legacy tribunals that were combined.
- Timelines for appeals are longer than the previous system and the average person waits over 500 days for their appeal to be heard.
- Examination of the appeal structure and the enabling legislation and regulations that were designed to expedite appeals have had the unintended consequence of slowing down the process and frustrating clients.
- The public consultations undertaken in order to produce the KPMG report - consistently identified dissatisfaction with the accountability of the SST and more is required to support a transparent, accountable tribunal.
- The government recognizes that social programs must be designed and delivered with a focus on the client - and the SST currently does not incorporate many of the leading practices of a client-centric organization.
There was unanimous agreement that the goal of the SST appeal system should be to serve vulnerable Canadians through a far, objective, and responsive appeals process and that achieving this goal will require a "resetting of the SST" shifting from a primary orientation to the law - towards a greater orientation to the client.
What does this mean? Well the findings have illustrated that there needs to be changes to the appeal system - and as I blog over the next while I will share with you my experiences with the SST, with the reconsideration appeal process, and with the application process. I will provide information about the recommendations of this report and highlight individual cases and how they fit in to the recommendation for changes that have been presented to Minister Duclos.
At this time, there has not been a response from the Minister on this report - and we do not know what recommendations will be followed. I do have several issues with the current SST appeal system specifically concerning access to justice issues. A right to appeal is meaningless if an appellant cannot navigate the appeal process - and I will talk about this moving forward.
If you are denied CPP disability and you need help appealing please get in touch with our office. We will be able to guide you and in most cases achieve a successful result on your behalf. I am very proud of the work that we do here - so much so - that DCAC has been nominated for two business excellence awards in the customer service category and business of the year for 2018. As well, March marks DCAC's 20th anniversary so it has been great to be acknowledged.