The following questions and answers are for claimants who will represent themselves at a hearing.
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Your appeal will be heard by the Pension Appeals Board. As the right to a fair hearing is of a great importance to us, we wish to ensure that you are ready to proceed. You will have a completely new hearing. Your case will be heard by three judges. This will be your chance to tell the judges everything you consider important about your medical condition.
Unlike the Review Tribunal hearings, hearings before the Pensions Appeals Board are open to the public.
It is important that you attend the hearing. Further evidence may come to light during the hearing. The decision will be based on both oral and written evidence. It is in your best interest to attend the hearing. The judges may have questions for you.
The office will make it as easy as possible for you to attend the hearing. We hold hearings in major cities across the country. If necessary, we will assist with your travel arrangements from your community to the hearing location.
You are welcome to bring any family members or friends. You may want one of these people to testify on your behalf and help explain your situation. This person would then be called as one of your witnesses.
Please do not be surprised to see other clients and their families in the hearing room as there might be other cases scheduled on the same day.
Tell the office as soon as possible. A party may have good reasons for not appearing. Please contact us to discuss your grounds for seeking an adjournment. Your request will be considered by the Board Chairman, and you will be notified of the decision. A request to adjourn is not always accepted in advance of a hearing. Sometimes the request has to be presented to the judges at the hearing. The office will help you with these requests.
The sooner you tell us the better it is for everyone. Having to adjourn hearings at the last minute because a party is not ready to proceed is disruptive and costly. There are other clients waiting for hearings. They want their turn too. Also, if you adjourn, it may be a while before your case can be re-scheduled. So you are encouraged to go ahead with the hearing, if possible.
Judges may proceed without hearing from an absent party.
If the Appellant fails to appear, the judges may dismiss the appeal on grounds of failure to appear.
Judges may also decide to adjourn the hearing to a later date.
Unlike the Review Tribunal, the Board will not send you a Hearing Case File.
You are responsible for your own reports and documents. Gather up all the documents you have received that relate to your case and bring these with you to the hearing.
Organize your thoughts, and make a note of significant events and when they occurred. This will help you make a clear statement of the facts as you see them.
Consider calling witnesses. Alert your witnesses if you want them to bring anything to the hearing. Witnesses can help prove your case. If you are concerned that a witness may not appear, call our office to discuss the situation. All parties may compel witnesses to appear.
Did I Provide All The Available Information?
The Board does not become involved in an application for CPP benefits until there is an appeal to us. The Board requested the Commissioner of Review Tribunals to send us copies of all documents used by the Review Tribunal in making its decision. These documents are requested solely to allow the judge to consider an Application for Leave to Appeal.
Once leave is granted the documents that will be placed before the Board are:
Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that the Board has been provided with all the evidence you wish the judges to consider.
We recommend that all documents be filed at least two weeks before the hearing. However, if this is not possible, you must bring 5 copies of each with you to the hearing, and present them to the Registrar when you arrive. They may be marked as exhibits during the hearing. You can refer to exhibits as you present your case.
You may have been waiting a couple of months for a medical report which then arrives just before your hearing. If there is no time to send along the report, again, please bring 5 copies with you to the hearing and give them to the Registrar.
1 The Board always sends you or your representative a notice, together with a copy of any documents filed with the Board.
Make sure you get there on time. Usually you are expected to be at the hearing by 9 a.m. unless told otherwise. When you arrive, make yourself known to the Registrar of the Board. The Registrar is there to assist everyone taking part in the hearing. If you have any questions ask the Registrar.
The judges usually outline the rules for the parties. The judges may ask questions. They will provide fair and impartial assistance with a view to reaching a fair decision.
There may be up to three cases scheduled on any one day. The Registrar will inform you in what order appeals will be heard. For many reasons the order of the cases cannot be decided until the morning of the day of the hearing. Some claimants find it useful to watch the case ahead of their own.
The Appellant usually presents his or her evidence first, followed by the Respondent. Whether you are an appellant or a respondent, you may be the only person speaking for your side, or you may also call witnesses.
Whether you have witnesses or not, you will still want to present your own evidence.
To give your evidence, you will be asked to take an oath or affirm that what you are about to say is true.
Speak clearly and loudly. Start at the beginning and tell the judges the facts in the order in which they occurred. Try to avoid repeating yourself or adding details that are not relevant to your case. The judges may ask questions to help clarify your testimony, or seek a further explanation of what happened. You may bring notes to help you cover your points.
When you have finished presenting your evidence, the other party will be given an opportunity to question you. He or she will also be able to question any witnesses who give evidence on your behalf. This questioning is called cross-examination. Its purpose is to bring out any factual errors or inconsistencies in your evidence or the evidence of your witnesses.
Once the other party has introduced his or her evidence, you will be permitted to cross-examine the other side and any witnesses, and to ask questions. The judges will supervise the cross-examination to make sure a witness is not being treated unfairly. The judges will not allow you to argue with a witness, or use cross-examination as an opportunity to tell your side of the story.
Both parties will then be given an opportunity to summarize the evidence they have presented during the hearing.
NO. The Act requires that the Board provide you with written reasons. A copy of the decision will be forwarded to you as soon as it becomes available. Decisions of the Board are posted on the internet at: www.pab-cap.gc.ca. In order to protect the privacy of claimants, decisions posted on the internet use initials rather than full names.
The decision of the Board is final and binding for all purposes of the Canada Pension Plan. However, any party to the appeal may, within 30 days, seek judicial review under section 28 of the Federal Court Act. Questions regarding judicial review by the Federal Court of Appeal should be directed to the Federal Court Registrar in your province or territory.