The Office of the Commissioner of Review Tribunals
In 1991, Parliament created the Canada Pension Plan Review Tribunals with the passage of Bill C-116. In 1995, Bill C-54 gave Review Tribunals additional jurisdiction to hear appeals under the Old Age Security Act. The Review Tribunals were created as a body independent from government that would make determinations regarding eligibility for persons claiming benefits under the Acts mentioned above.
If an applicant applies to Canada Pension Plan to reconsider the denial of their disability application and they are denied at reconsideration, your next appeal will be made to the Office of the Commissioner of Review Tribunals.
The Office of the Commissioner is an independent, quasi-judicial body which has the responsibility of ensuring that hearings are carried out by Review Tribunal Panel Members in communities across the country. The Office of the Commissioner also has responsibility for providing legal advice, technical support, training and other assistance to Panel Members and for ensuring that all parties to an appeal are provided with the proper documentation, notices, and other material that might be necessary to ensure a fair and impartial hearing.
What does the Review Tribunal do?
The Commissioner will select a three-member Tribunal who will hear and decide the outcome of your appeal. They will also arrange the date, time, and place of your Review Tribunal hearing. Your hearing will be as close to your home as possible. The Commissioner makes sure that all the parties to the appeal will receive the information pertaining to your appeal. Before the hearing, Customer Service Officers are available to answer any questions that you may have. The Review Tribunal is also sends the decision to all of the parties of the appeal by registered mail.
Who are the members of the Review Tribunal?
A Review Tribunal is made up of three people chosen by the Commissioner from a group of appointed members from every region of Canada. The Review Tribunal members are not employees of HRSDC ensuring that the appeal process is fair and impartial.
- The chairperson of a Review Tribunal is a lawyer.
- If your appeal is about a Disability Pension, one of the three members must be from a prescribed health profession and the third a member from the community.
A Review Tribunal:
- is an independent and impartial panel that will take an entirely new look at your case.
- does not act on behalf of Social Development Canada (HRSDC) or on your behalf.
- will review all the information HRSDC used to make its decision in your case.
- will also consider any new information that you, HRSDC, or an added party submits.
What happens when you appeal to the Review Tribunal?
If you are denied your Canada Pension Plan disability benefits at reconsideration your next level of appeal is the Review Tribunal. At this level of appeal, you finally can meet face to face the adjudicators deciding whether or not you meet the criteria of disability.
DCAC Inc has been acting as representative at this level of appeal for over ten years, and the Review Tribunal office work hard to ensure the appellant's needs are met. Do not be fearful of this level of appeal - it is a good place to be as you are no longer simply a "paper file" but a "real" person.
To request a Review Tribunal you must write to the OCRT within 90 days of receiving your CPP denial letter. Even if you are not sure how to proceed with your appeal - keep your options open by appealing within the 90 days. You can always withdraw your appeal if your decide to do so. The Commissioner of Review Tribunals can decide to accept appeals later that 90 days, but there must be a good reasons for the delay and there is no guarantee that the Commissioner will accept your late appeal.
The Review Tribunal Hearing
The Review Tribunal does not have the authority to ignore or override the CPP legislation on compassionate grounds or for any other reasons. The Review Tribunal must make its decision by applying the CPP legislation to the facts of the case. When making the decision, the Review Tribunal can consider any information previously submitted to CPP, new medical information, and oral testimony. This is an important source of information for the Review Tribunal panel. You are also allowed to have witnesses at your appeal.
How does DCAC represent me at a Review Tribunal appeal?
Appellants who are represented at their appeal are more successful.
We will carefully review your Hearing File and review all the medical letters and reports - we will check contribution records and look at CPP adjudication summary notes for the application and Reconsideration decision.
We will obtain additional information to support your appeal.
CPP prepares a written submission for the Review Tribunal. This is the Explanation of Decision Under Appeal document which explains why CPP does not think you meet the legislative criteria of disability. The document concludes with Canada Pension Plan's reasons for denying your claim. DCAC Inc will review this document with you and will argue against the CPP reasons at the Review Tribunal appeal.
DCAC Inc. will also help to prepare you and your witnesses to testify at the hearing and ask you the necessary questions at the hearing to present your case in the most effective manner.
Is there another level of appeal after the Review Tribunal?
Yes. If either party is not satisfied with the decision of the Review Tribunal they can request Leave to Appeal to the Pension Appeals Board
. Appeal rights to the Pension Appeals Board are not automatic and Leave or permission to have your case heard must be granted by The Chairman.
Appealing to this level is more challenging and a more formal process than appearing before the Review Tribunal.
For Additional Information
Review the FAQs
section of this website.
Contact the Review Tribunal office 1-800-363-0076 or review their website at www.ocrt-bctr.gc.ca
The OCRT has an excellent video called Your Best Shot. It is about appeal to a Review Tribunal and is available to all appellants. We suggest you take the opportunity to learn more about the Review Tribunal by requesting this video.