CPP Disability Appeals: Judicial Review

The fight for CPP Disability benefits can be a long and tough one for many sick and injured Ontarians. Over our last few posts we’ve talked about the various levels of appeal you can pursue if Service Canada rejects your application, from reconsideration request, to SST–General Division, to the SST–Appeal Division. In today’s post we’re going to talk about the very last option for appeals: a judicial review by the Federal Court.

First, we want to emphasize that judicial reviews are rare and highly complex legal proceedings, as you will see if you look at this overview from the Federal Court. If you’re in this position, you should seriously consider talking to a lawyer.

What is a Judicial Review?

Essentially, it’s a process in which you ask the Federal Court to review the legality of a decision made by a federal tribunal; in this case, that’s the Social Security Tribunal. You could apply for judicial review of the SST’s decision to deny leave to appeal, or of their decision about your disability benefits.

In the review, the Federal Court has to determine whether the decisions made at the tribunal level were reasonable and justified given the facts and legal constraints that the decision-maker was subject to.

The outcome of the judicial review could be 

  • to dismiss your application for judicial review
  • to send your case back to be heard by the SST-Appeal Division
  • to set aside the SST-Appeal Division’s decision
  • in rare circumstances, to direct the SST-Appeal Division to grant benefits

What is the Deadline to Apply for Judicial Review?

You must apply for judicial review within 30 days of the SST-Appeal Division communicating their decision to you. In some circumstances, you may be granted an extension of time.

At all levels of decision-making related to CPP Disability, decisions are supposed to be guided by facts and process. That means even if your case is very sympathetic, the decision-maker can’t approve your benefits unless the evidence is there and the rules set out by the law are followed. 

Because of this, it’s absolutely essential that you have the evidence to back up your claim, and to be able to accurately point out where mistakes were made in the decision-making process. 

Your best bet is to have an experienced CPP Disability lawyer on your side who can craft the strongest possible application for judicial review.