What are appellants telling us? May 2020

Since December 2019, the Social Security Tribunal (Tribunal) has been asking appellants about how they see their experience of the Tribunal process at the General Division. We always do this after the hearing, but before they receive a decision. We do this so that their answers are not influenced by whether they won or lost their appeal. The Tribunal uses their answers to assess where we need to improve on our process. We also think it is important to publish the feedback because we believe in being transparent about how the Tribunal works for Canadians.

The latest results, up to the end of February 2020 are now available. I encourage you to have a look.

Print version of official source:

Client Satisfaction Survey Results
(PDF, 686 KB)

Employment Insurance / Income Security survey results

Overall satisfaction: 86%
Appeal type Satisfaction Response rate Participants Survey period Margin of error
EI 88%   88% (normal) 49%   49% (too low) 179 Dec. 9 – Feb. 29 ±5% 19/20 times
IS 78%   78% (normal) 32%   32% (too low) 40 Jan. 14 – Feb. 29

Overall satisfaction: 94%* 94% (normal)

Question 1 - Appeal process easy to understand

Results

  • Employment Insurance: 96%
  • Income Security: 88%

The vast majority of respondents found the process easy to understand with the aid of Tribunal correspondence, the website, or a representative. Those who had difficulty frequently pointed out that they understood the process only after speaking with call centre staff, a Tribunal member, or someone close to them.

Comments

  • “The appeal went well, everything was fine.”
  • “I did not know what to expect so I was somewhat insecure about the hearing by teleconference, but in the end it was ok.”
  • “A one page simplified English summary would be appreciated when you send documents because it was difficult for me to understand many of your legal terminology.”
  • “Instructions on how to do a hearing would be appreciated. The SST could ask questions if we need anything else so they could help, instead of only saying to prepare for a hearing with all the documents provided. Lawyers are better prepared than us, and this is where it is more difficult.”

Overall satisfaction: 88%* 88% (normal)

Question 2 – Forms, letters, and emails were easy to understand

Results

  • Employment Insurance: 89%
  • Income Security: 87%

Nearly 9 in 10 respondents found that correspondence was easy to understand, but a consistent minority, possibly reflecting varying literacy levels, highlighted issues such as:

  • Emails were voluminous and difficult to understand in isolation
  • Materials were not available in their native, non-official language
  • Legal terminology
  • Notices to Appear are not always timely

Comments

  • “Once you start reading, you get a better picture.”
  • “Didn't find it too difficult. Don't strongly agree because emails and all documents sent was a lot of paperwork.
  • “Difficult to understand for a lay person.”
  • “They were a little hard to follow, I had to call in and get someone to explain them to me.”
  • “Some of them [correspondence] were hard to understand and the literature details was difficult for a non-English person to understand.”

Overall satisfaction: 98%* 98% (normal)

Question 3 - Treated with courtesy and respect

Results

  • Employment Insurance: 98%
  • Income Security: 98%

A very high combined percentage of respondents confirmed that they were treated with courtesy and respect throughout their appeals process.

Comments

  • “Our Tribunal member was very kind and patient. I want to give her credit.”
  • “Speaking with all the staff at the Tribunal when I called in was great, it really helped me understand everything better.”
  • “The people are nice and the process was easy to follow.”

Overall satisfaction: 92%* 92% (normal)

Question 4 - Tribunal handled appeal quickly

Results

  • Employment Insurance: 96%
  • Income Security: 73%

The widest variance between Employment Insurance (EI) and Income Security (IS) appellants’ responses was in satisfaction regarding the timeliness of an appeal. Some IS respondents cited wait times of up to two years. A few appellants included Service Canada wait times in with those of the Tribunal.

Comments

  • “The appeal process was quite fast with no major complications. I found it was easy to go through.”
  • “Took Tribunal almost 9 months to tell me that they had no jurisdiction to deal with my file.”
  • “I find the appeal process with the Social Security Tribunal too long, probably because I didn’t have any patience left after the long Employment Insurance process beforehand.”

Overall satisfaction: 95%* 95% (normal)

Question 5 - Treated fairly by Tribunal member

Results

  • Employment Insurance: 95%
  • Income Security: 95%

Despite long wait times, a very high percentage in both IS and EI appellants responded positively about their interactions with the Tribunal member they interacted with. Respondents reported that Tribunal members were fair, courteous and responsive.

Comments

  • “I felt calm on the phone, but in person I would have felt uncomfortable. The Tribunal member was really polite.”
  • “The lady judging was nice and she gave me time to prepare and she was clear throughout the hearing.”
  • “The Tribunal member was exceptional. She was very good, she wanted to make sure she got everything correct, I really appreciate it. She was very thorough.”

Overall satisfaction: 94%* 94% (normal)

Question 6 - Happy with form of hearing

Results

  • Employment Insurance: 96%
  • Income Security: 85%

The vast majority of respondents were happy with their form of hearing. Respondents frequently commented that they did not get the in-person hearing they had originally requested but were satisfied with the teleconference or videoconference hearing they had instead.

Comments

  • “I liked the teleconference hearing because it was less pressure.”
  • “I would have preferred an in-person meeting. Definitely if it is for disability files, I think the person should be able to see and sit with someone.”
  • “My video conference was changed to teleconference due to technical difficulties. I am satisfied with the teleconference, but it is unfortunate that I had to go to a Service Canada office only to dial a phone number when I could have done it from home. The Social Security Tribunal should do more testing....”

*Please note: Overall satisfaction is a measure of the weighted average, which is calculated using proportion of EI vs. IS streams into account.

Paul Aterman
Chairperson

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