Social Security Tribunal of Canada

Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement General Division: What happens after you start your appeal

After you start your appeal, here's what happens.

1 – We send you a letter

We’ll send you a letter to confirm we received your appeal and tell you the next steps. If you don’t receive a letter from us, contact us.

If we need more information, we’ll tell you and give you a deadline to send it to us. If we don’t hear back from you, your appeal won’t go to the next step.

2 – We let Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) know you’re appealing

We’ll let ESDC know you’re appealing your reconsideration decision. ESDC is a party in the appeal. Service Canada made your reconsideration decision on behalf of ESDC.

We’ll ask ESDC for the documents it has about your file.

ESDC has 20 days to send us those documents. We’ll then share these documents with you.

3 – We assign your appeal to a member

We’ll assign your appeal to a General Division member. The member is the decision-maker in your appeal. They’ll make sure your appeal moves through the appeal process smoothly.

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

Throughout the appeal process we’ll make sure you and ESDC have the same information. 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.

If the General Division member’s decision could directly affect someone else, the member may add them as a party to your appeal. They would be called an “added party”. We’ll send them the same information too.

You can send us documents with your Notice of Appeal form. If you get new information or find other documents that support your appeal, you can also send them to us later. But make sure you send them to us before the deadline.

We’ll number each document. An appeal file can contain many documents. Numbering helps keep track of them. Each document number starts with the letters “GD”.

We’ll number the documents “GD1”, “GD2”, 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 second document in an appeal file:

SST/TSS REC: FE 17 2021 GD2-1


To refer to a specific document when you contact us or during your hearing, you can mention the GD number at the bottom of the page. This way, everyone knows where the information is. 

5 – You send us your documents and arguments

You may have already included your arguments and supporting documents (evidence) with your Notice of Appeal form, but you may want to send more. We encourage you to send everything to us as soon as possible so you can get your decision quickly.

Arguments express your point of view about why the General Division should agree with you. You then use evidence (for example, a marriage certificate) to support your arguments. Evidence is used to help prove a fact. Arguments are you telling us how you want the General Division member (the decision-maker) to interpret the evidence. You can use supporting documents and witness testimony as evidence. Testimony is oral evidence given at the hearing.

At the beginning of your appeal, we’ll send you a letter that tells you how long you have to send us your documents.

Usually, you have up to 3 months from when you filed your appeal to send us your documents. If you need more time, you can ask for it. The member decides whether to give you more time. The maximum time we can give you to send us your documents is 20 months.

In some cases, the member may decide to change this process. If this happens, we’ll let you know.

Your appeal will go to the next step when the filing deadline passes or when you don’t have any more documents or arguments to send us, whichever comes first. You can tell us over the phone or in writing if you have no more documents or arguments to send us. We’ll contact you throughout the process to confirm when we move your appeal forward.

6 – ESDC sends us their documents or arguments

After you’ve sent us all your documents or your deadline has passed, it’ll be ESDC’s time to prepare. ESDC will have up to 2 months to send us their documents or arguments.

If ESDC sends us documents or arguments during this time, we’ll send you a copy.

If ESDC needs more time, they can ask for it. The member decides whether to give them more time.

Your appeal will go to the next step once ESDC sends us their documents.

7 – You can reply

You’ll then have 30 days to send us a reply to what ESDC has filed. This gives you a chance to respond to ESDC’s documents.

Let us know if you’ll bring a witness to your hearing

You might want a witness other than yourself at your hearing to support your appeal. If you do, let us know before the end of your 30-day reply period. Learn more about the information we’ll need regarding your witness.

Scheduling your hearing

We’ll ask you when you’re available for a hearing and what type of hearing you prefer. 

We’ll schedule your hearing to take place after the 30-day reply period.

You’ll usually get your Notice of Hearing at least 6 weeks before your hearing.

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

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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