What is the Social Security Tribunal of Canada?
If you are unsuccessful with your application for Canada Pension Plan disability benefits at both the initial and reconsideration level, you will have to decide whether to appeal your case to the Social Security Tribunal of Canada. Dealing with the SST on your own can be a very difficult and stressful process.
The SST is not a court but shares some similarities with one. It is an independent administrative tribunal established by the federal government. The SST only hears cases involving appeals related to the Canada Pension Plan as well as Employment Insurance. Hearings are conducted either in writing, by telephone, by video teleconference, or in person.
The SST has two levels: a lower level called the General Division and a higher level called the Appeal Division. The General Division hears appeals of decisions made by the Canada Pension Plan staff. People who are unsatisfied with the General Division's decision in their case can seek permission to file an appeal to the Appeal Division. This is called an "Application for Leave to Appeal." If permission is granted, they will have a hearing before the Appeal Division.
Advocating before the SST requires legal knowledge, significant preparation, and skill. Although self-represented people can and do appear before the SST, many of them are ultimately unsuccessful because they do not fully understand the legal tests and procedural rules that apply to this area of law.