Government of Canada announces appointment of Social Security Tribunal members

OTTAWA, Nov. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, today announced the appointment of Sandeep Chauhan, Lucie Leduc, Hazelyn Ross and Joanne Sajtos as full-time members of the new Social Security Tribunal (SST).

The new SST is a single decision-making body that consolidates the work previously done by four separate tribunals. By offering one point of contact for submitting an appeal, it simplifies the appeal processes, while ensuring continued access to administrative justice for appellants and providing greater value for Canadians.

"The members and staff of the new Social Security Tribunal are implementing simplified, efficient and effective appeal processes that will improve administrative justice for Canadians. They are committed to operating a tribunal that is fair, credible, impartial and independent," said Minister Kenney. "The new members bring a wide variety of professional experience, education and exemplary leadership skills, making them excellent additions to the SST."

Mr. Chauhan's, Ms. Leduc's, Ms. Ross' and Ms. Sajtos' appointments are effective as of November 23, 2013.

The SST is comprised of two levels of appeal. The General Division, the first level of appeal, includes an Employment Insurance (EI) Section for EI appeals, and an Income Security Section for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) appeals. The Appeal Division is the second level of appeal as it decides appeals of decisions made by the General Division.

To date, 54 members, in addition to the Chairperson and three vice-chairpersons, have been appointed from all regions of the country to ensure regional representation and fairness of decisions. The SST began its operations on April 1, 2013.

For more information on the SST, visit canada.gc.ca/sst-tss.


backgrounder


Announced in Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012, the new Social Security Tribunal (SST) replaces the four separate tribunals for social security appeals. It is an administrative tribunal with quasi-judicial powers and provides fair, credible, impartial and independent appeal processes for government decisions on Employment Insurance (EI), the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS).

The new tribunal system simplifies and streamlines the process for appellants by providing them with a single decision-making body for EI, CPP and OAS appeals. The SST is led by a chairperson and three vice-chairpersons appointed by the Governor in Council. The SST comprises two levels of appeal. For the first level of appeal, a vice-chairperson heads each of the EI and Income Security (CPP and OAS) sections of the General Division. The third vice-chairperson heads the Appeal Division, which is the second level of appeal. The Appeal Division decides appeals of decisions made by the General Division.

The first year of operations for the SST is a transition period during which it will hear all new appeals while the four tribunals finalize and render decisions on cases already heard. The transition period will be complete by April 1, 2014, at which time the SST will be the only body hearing and deciding appeals for EI, CPP and OAS.

On March 12, 2013, Ms. Murielle Brazeau was appointed to the role of Chairperson of the SST, along with 34 full-time members, by the Governor in Council. Members have been appointed from all regions of the country to ensure fairness and regional distribution.

Members of the SST are expected to maintain the public trust and avoid any conflicts of interest. These members are also supported by advisors with legal and medical expertise and have access to professional training.

Key SST Milestones:

  • March 29, 2012 - SST announced in Economic Action Plan 2012
  • June 21, 2012 - SST receives Royal Assent
  • March 12, 2013 - Announcement of SST Chairperson
  • March 31, 2013 - Last day for the CPP/OAS Review Tribunals, the PAB and the EI Umpire to hear new cases. The Boards of Referees will continue to hear appeals filed up to this date.
  • April 1, 2013 - SST begins operations
  • April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 - Four tribunals finalize cases and wind down operations; SST receives all new appeals
    • October 31, 2013 - The EI Boards of Referees must have issued all decisions on cases filed before March 31, 2013
    • March 31, 2014 - The CPP/OAS Review Tribunals, PAB and EI Umpire will have issued their decisions on all appeals heard before March 31, 2013
  • April 1, 2014 - SST becomes the only decision-making body

For more information on the SST, visit canada.gc.ca/sst-tss.

NEWLY APPOINTED SOCIAL SECURITY TRIBUNAL MEMBERS

Sandeep Chauhan, Chestermere, Alberta

Mr. Chauhan received his Master's degree in Business Administration at the Garvin School of International Management in the United States of America. He also has a Bachelor of General Studies (Applied Business) degree and a diploma in Business Administration (Accounting and Finance) from Canadian universities. Mr. Chauhan has over seven years of experience working for the Government of Canada and is currently a Benefit Officer with Service Canada. He donates his time to develop proposals to help the North Edmonton Senior Citizens Recreation Society get funding for community development. He is fluent in three languages and has received several excellence awards, including the International Foreign Language Honor Society's prestigious Phi Sigma Iota award, which recognizes remarkable ability and achievement in languages.

Lucie Leduc, Toronto, Ontario

Ms. Leduc is a former member of the Employment Insurance Board of Referees as well as being an active Research Ethics board member at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Her experience in dealing with complex issues inspired her to co-write a handbook on conflict resolution and best practices designed for a government organization, as a private consultant. Ms. Leduc was a former Vice-President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Quebec Division, representing the Airline Sector and was also on the chair of the Women's Committee at Air Transat. Ms. Leduc has a Master's degree in Law with Collaborative Program in Bioethics from the University of Toronto. She also has a Bachelor of Law degree and a Social and Labour Law Certificate from the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Hazelyn Ross, Toronto, Ontario

Ms. Ross served as the Assistant Deputy Chairperson on the Immigration and Refugee Board and was also a member of the Board's Immigration Appeal Division and the Refugee Protection Division. She is a sought-after speaker and has delivered presentations at over eight different national conferences. Ms. Ross attended Concordia University in Montréal, where she received her Master and Bachelor of Arts degrees. She is a graduate of the University of West Indies (Barbados) and earned her legal degree in Trinidad.

E. Joanne Sajtos, Toronto, Ontario

Ms. Sajtos is a former member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Refugee Protection Division. She is currently a member of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges and the Law Society of Upper Canada. Previously, Ms. Sajtos was a vice-chair at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal and is a co-author of "A Practical Guide to Worker's Compensation in Ontario." She was also appointed to the Indian Residential Schools Alternative Dispute Resolution panel. She has taught at various colleges and has extensive public speaking and training experience. Ms. Sajtos has a Bachelor degree in Political Science from York University and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Windsor. She is also trained in the fields of communication, alternative dispute resolution, journalism, adjudication and regulation. Finally, Ms. Sajtos has volunteered with Out of the Cold, a program for the homeless, and acted as a Director for a program assisting women and children in crisis.

SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information:

This news release is available in alternative formats on request.

For further information (media only):

Alexandra Fortier
Office of the Minister
819-994-2482

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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