OTTAWA, May 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of
Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced the appointment
of Mr. David Wake, Mr. Dominique Bellemare and Ms. Margot Ballagh as
Vice-Chairpersons 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 Human Resources and Skills Development
Canada (HRSDC) 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 new Social Security Tribunal will be fair, credible, impartial and
independent. It will improve administrative justice for Canadians by
offering simplified appeal processes and an efficient and effective
adjudicative process," said Minister Finley. "Mr. Wake, Mr. Bellemare,
Ms. Ballagh each have strong legal backgrounds and varied professional
experiences that will constitute valuable assets in their new roles as
Vice-Chairpersons of the SST."
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. Mr. Bellemare
will head the Employment Insurance Section and Ms. Ballagh will head
the Income Security Section. The Appeal Division, which will be led by Mr. Wake, is the second level of appeal as it decides appeals of
decisions made by the General Division.
In addition to the appointment of the three Vice-Chairpersons of the new
SST, Minister Finley also announced the appointment of nine
additional full-time members approved by Governor in Council. To date, 42 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.
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 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 will be a transition period
during which it will hear all new appeals while the four tribunals
finalize and render decisions on cases already heard. More
specifically, the EI Boards of Referees will continue to hear appeals
filed (and not decided) before April 2013. These decisions must be
issued no later than October 31, 2013. The CPP/OAS Review Tribunals,
the Pension Appeals Board (PAB) and the EI Umpire will no longer hear
any appeals but will render decisions on all cases heard up to
March 31, 2013. Their decisions must be issued no later than
March 31, 2014.
Appeals filed with the Office of the Commissioner of the Review
Tribunals (OCRT), the PAB and the EI Umpire that were not heard by
April 1, 2013, have been transferred to the SST. The SST is notifying
appellants whose files have been transferred and providing them with
additional information about the appeal processes.
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. If any of the four tribunals is unable to meet the deadlines
for issuing decisions, the SST will be responsible for outstanding
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
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 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.
SOCIAL SECURITY TRIBUNAL VICE-CHAIRPERSONS
J. David Wake, Ottawa, Ontario
Vice-Chairperson (Appeal Division)
Immediately before his appointment as Vice-Chairperson of the Appeal
Division of the Social Security Tribunal, the Honourable Justice J.
David Wake presided in the Ontario Court of Justice at Ottawa where he
also served as Local Administrative Judge. Justice Wake practiced law
in Ottawa for two decades prior to being appointed to the Ontario Court
(Provincial Division) in 1994 and then as Associate Chief Justice of
the Ontario Court of Justice from 1999 until 2005. He held the position
of Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Chief Judges from 2004
until 2009. He was Chair of the Court's Education Secretariat, which
coordinated all education programs for judges of the Court. He was a
founding member of the Ottawa Defence Counsel Association and a member
of the Criminal Lawyers' Association, the Canadian Bar Association and
the Advocates' Society.
Dominique M. Bellemare, Montreal, Quebec
Vice-Chairperson (General Division - Employment Insurance Section)
Dominique M. Bellemare is a lawyer who also has extensive experience as
an international consultant and corporate board member. In the past, he
has worked in private practice and served as legal counsel for the
company, Vendôme Property Management, and as vice-president of legal
and international affairs with Crédit Mutuel of Montréal. Mr. Bellemare
is also currently a member of the Advisory Committee of the
Canada-Chile Commission for Environmental Cooperation under the
Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. He also has a seat as member of the
board of WSPA International, an international, not-for-profit, animal
protection organization, and past president of that same board.
Previously, he served as a delegate and representative to the
International Civil Aviation Organization.
Margot Ballagh, Midhurst, Ontario
Vice-Chairperson (General Division - Income Security Section)
Prior to her appointment, Margot Ballagh was a legal member of the
CPP/OAS Review Tribunals since 2006, during which time she reviewed
case files, chaired hearings and prepared written decisions for
hundreds of appeals related to Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security
Benefits. She has also been a member of the Simcoe County Duty Counsel
panel and the Muskoka Duty Counsel Panel in Family Court. Ms. Ballagh
formerly practiced civil litigation, specializing in personal injury
and employment law. From 1995 to 2007, she was the president and
manager of the Barrie Hearing Centre. The many law-related associations
she is involved in include the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Simcoe
County Law Association and the Council of Canadian Administrative
Tribunals. Ms. Ballagh holds a Bachelor of Science degree as well as a
Bachelor of Law degree, both from the University of Western Ontario.
She has been a member of the Ontario Bar since 1991.
NEWLY APPOINTED SST MEMBERS
Robert A. Beccarea, Miller Lake, Ontario
Robert Beccarea is an arbitrator, mediator and consultant in the fields
of municipal and expropriation matters. For the past three years, he
has been one of seven members providing continuing education to newly
appointed adjudicators and Referees of Service Canada. Mr. Beccarea
spent a year hearing citizen appeals as a chairperson of the Employment
Insurance Boards of Referees.
Charline Bourque, Québec, Quebec
Charline Bourque has worked for the past four years at Service Canada in
Québec, where she assumed responsibilities in the area of customer
service and as team leader. Previously, she worked for Citizenship and
Immigration Canada in Montréal and Mississauga as a risk review
officer. Ms. Bourque holds a Master's degree in International Relations
from the Diplomatische Akademie in Vienna, Austria, and a Bachelor of
Arts degree in Political Science from Université Laval.
Martin Bugden, Toronto, Ontario
Before being appointed as a member of the SST, Martin Bugden held the
position of Chairperson of the Employment Insurance Boards of Referees
in Brampton, Ontario. Prior to that, he was Operations and Maintenance
Manager for the City of Toronto Water in the Scarborough District. As
an active member of his community, Mr. Bugden is board President and
board Treasurer of the West Rouge Sports and Recreational Association.
Lianne M. Byrne, Toronto, Ontario
Prior to her appointment, Lianne Byrne was a lawyer engaged in a wide
range of practice areas, including corporate/commercial, privacy,
health and safety, as well as marketing law. Appointed twice as a legal
member of the CPP/OAS Review Tribunals, she has experience leading pre-
and post-hearing discussions, chairing hearings and ensuring the proper
constitution of the Review Tribunal.
Teresa D. Jaenen, Brandon, Manitoba
Prior to her appointment, Teresa D. Jaenen was a regional Chairperson of
the Employment Insurance Boards of Referees in Brandon, Manitoba, since
2008. Ms. Jaenen has extensive experience in the events and
entertainment fields, having held responsibilities in sales, marketing
and client relations divisions of various Brandon-area event and
convention coordinating companies. She is also currently owner/operator
of Created 4 U, an upstart entertainment company specialising in the
provision of personalized crystal awards.
Vikki Mitchell, Sudbury, Ontario
Vikki Mitchell was a teacher for the Sudbury Board of Education for
close to thirty years, teaching physical and health education, as well
as French immersion. She was the Department Head of the French
Immersion Program at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School for ten years.
Prior to her appointment, Ms. Mitchell was the Worker Representative
for the Employment Insurance Boards of Referees in Sudbury, Ontario.
Dwayne A. Provo, Lake Echo, Nova Scotia
Prior to his appointment to the Social Security Tribunal, Dwayne Provo
has held a position of Chairperson for the Employment Insurance Boards
for Referees. Mr. Provo has spent many years with the Nova Scotia
Department of Education, the Halifax Regional School Board and occupied
a number of senior level positions within the Black Educators
Association of Nova Scotia. Mr. Provo has extensive experience working
with multiple divisions within the employment insurance field. He is a
member of a number of committees, councils and associations pertaining
to health, multiculturalism, athletics and education and is also a
former professional football player who has played in the NFL and CFL.
Mr. Provo holds three Bachelor degrees in Physical Education from
Dalhousie University, Arts and Education from Saint Mary's University
and a Master of Arts in Education from Mount Saint Vincent University.
Oudit Rai, Oshawa, Ontario
Holding a Bachelor of Arts with honours in International Relations and a
Master of Arts specialized in Public Administration and Policy
Development, this licensed lawyer was a barrister and solicitor in the
Oshawa area prior to his appointment. He is also a deputy judge of the
Superior Court of Justice for the Small Claims Court. Actively involved
in his community, Mr. Rai is the Director of a number of Board of
Directors in his area, as well as a member of the Legal Aid Area Appeal
Committee for the Durham/Frontenac area.
Joseph Wamback, Newmarket, Ontario
President of Wamback Corporation, a design and construction company,
Mr. Wamback has experience in commercial project management as well as
in contract and claims dispute resolution. Prior to his appointment, he
served as the Chairperson for Employment Insurance Boards of Referees
in Mississauga, Ontario. Actively involved in his community,
Mr. Wamback is the founder and volunteer Chair of the Canadian Crime
Victim Foundation, for which he was awarded the Queens Golden Jubilee
Medal in 2002 for his volunteer service.
SOURCE: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
For further information:
Office of Minister Finley
Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
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