Social Security Tribunal of Canada

Canada Pension Plan disability Appeal Division: What happens after you start your appeal

1 – We send you a letter

If you sent us all the information we need, we’ll send you a letter to confirm we received your appeal. If you don’t receive a letter from us, you should contact us. This could mean that we haven’t received your appeal.

We’ll also send a copy of this letter to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) because it’s a party in the appeal. Service Canada sent you the reconsideration decision on behalf of ESDC.

If there’s information missing that we need, we’ll send you a letter telling you what’s missing and giving you a deadline to send it to us. 

2 – We make sure you and ESDC have all the documents

We’ll make sure you and ESDC have the same information at every step. This means we’ll send you a copy of the documents ESDC sends us, and we’ll send ESDC a copy of the documents you send us.

At the General Division, we numbered your documents “GD1”, “GD2”, and so on. At the Appeal Division, we’ll number the documents “AD1”, “AD2”, and so on. We’ll add the document number and the page number to the bottom of each page. For example, this is page 1 of the first document in an appeal file:

AD-1  SST/TSS REC: FE 17 2021

If you need to refer to a specific page, you can mention the GD or AD number at the bottom of the page so everyone knows where the information is. 

3 – We assign your appeal to a member

We’ll assign your appeal to an Appeal Division member

The Appeal Division is separate from the General Division. So you won’t have the same member you had at the General Division. 

4 – The member may suggest alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a simple way of possibly resolving your appeal.

In ADR, an Appeal Division member leads a conversation between the parties to see whether your appeal can be resolved. A member will suggest ADR if they see a good chance of settling the issues. They may suggest this right at the start of your appeal or at a later stage.

If the member suggests ADR, we’ll invite you to an informal meeting. We’ll also invite ESDC to the meeting.

We usually have the meeting by teleconference.

At the meeting, you’ll have a chance to:

  • ask questions about the issues that are most important to you
  • talk with ESDC to try and resolve some of your differences

1 of 3 things happens:

  • You might reach an agreement with ESDC on all the issues. If this happens, the member will send you a decision based on the agreement, and you won’t have a hearing.
  • You might decide to withdraw (cancel) your appeal.
  • If you don’t reach an agreement, your appeal will continue through the regular appeal process.

You want to go through ADR, but you haven’t been invited

You can write us to ask for ADR if you think there’s a good chance you and ESDC can reach an agreement about your appeal.

5 – The member decides whether to give you permission to appeal

The member will look at your application and the documents in the file. They’ll give you permission to appeal if 1 of these 2 situations apply:  

  • you have evidence that the General Division didn’t have
  • you've made a reasonable argument that the General Division made a specific kind of mistake

This permission is called “leave to appeal”.

If you don’t get permission to appeal

If the member doesn’t give you permission to appeal, your appeal won’t continue and we’ll close your appeal file.

We’ll send you the member’s decision. It will explain the reasons why they didn’t give you permission to appeal. If you have a representative, they’ll get it too.

If you get permission to appeal

If the member gives you permission to appeal, we’ll send you the member’s decision saying you have permission to move forward with your appeal.

If you have a representative, they’ll get the decision too.

The decision won’t explain the reasons why the member gave you permission. The reasons don’t matter for the next stage of the appeal. But if you ask, the member will give their reasons for granting permission to appeal. You have to ask within 10 days of getting the decision.

6 – You can send us evidence and arguments

If the member gives you permission to appeal, your appeal will be heard as a new proceeding. You don’t have to prove that the General Division made a mistake.

We’ll send you a schedule setting out deadlines for you to send in your evidence and arguments. In most cases, you’ll have 75 days from when you get permission to appeal to send us these documents. ESDC will have the same deadline to send us their evidence and arguments.

Evidence is used to prove a fact. It includes things like medical reports, letters, official papers, and written statements.

Arguments express your point of view about why the Appeal Division should allow your appeal. Your arguments should say exactly what result you’re looking for (such as a disability pension from a certain date), and how the evidence and the law support that result.

We encourage you to send us your evidence and arguments by email, if you can. Make sure you send us electronic documents in a format we can open.

You don’t need to send documents that were given to the General Division. The Appeal Division already has those documents.

The Appeal Division member won’t listen to the recording of the General Division hearing. If you want the Appeal Division member to consider the recording, tell us as soon as possible. You might want this if, for example, a witness who testified at the General Division isn’t available for the Appeal Division hearing.

If you need more time

If you need more time to send us your evidence and arguments, let us know as soon as possible. If needed, we’ll set up a conference with the Appeal Division member to talk about the deadlines.

If you don’t have evidence or arguments to send us

It could be that you have little or no new evidence or arguments to add to what you already gave the General Division. If that’s the case, let us know. If the other parties involved in your appeal have little or nothing to add either, it’s possible that your appeal could go ahead faster. We may set up a conference with you, the Appeal Division member, and the other parties to talk about it.

7 – Tell us if you have witnesses

Within a week after you’ve sent us your evidence and arguments, you need to tell us if you’re bringing any witnesses (other than yourself) to your hearing. The other party or parties have to do the same. That way, everyone knows who will be testifying at the hearing.

Learn more about witnesses and what you need to do.

8 – There will be a response period

We’ll share your evidence and arguments with all the parties involved in your appeal. We’ll also send you what we receive from the other parties. Then, each party has 30 days to respond to what the other parties said. We’ll send you a letter with the exact date you need to respond by. You can respond with more evidence and arguments.

9 – You have a hearing

Usually, the Appeal Division schedules your hearing after the 75-day deadline to send us your arguments and evidence has passed.

We ask what type of hearing you prefer in your application to the Appeal Division. 

If you have an oral hearing

We’ll send you a written Notice of Hearing. If you have a representative, they’ll get the notice too.

A Notice of Hearing gives you details about your hearing. For example, it says when and where the hearing is and the type of hearing (teleconference, videoconference or in person). 

The Appeal Division member holding the hearing could be the same member or a different member from the one who gave you permission to appeal. The member will make a decision after your hearing.

If your hearing is in writing

You might have your hearing in writing. We’ll tell you if this is going to happen.

Learn more about the different types of hearings and how to prepare for yours.

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