Making our decisions easy to read – March 2021

The KPMG review of the Social Security Tribunal (SST) in 2017 concluded that our decisions were long, full of legal jargon, and hard for people to understand.

Over the past three years, we’ve worked to change that. Since then, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, Clear Language and Design, L’Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario, and senior appellate judges have provided plain language training to Tribunal members.

We had a sense that we were making good progress, but we needed to measure results to be sure –because what matters is what the data tells us. We did an evaluation that compares the readability of our decisions before and after members did their training.

The results of the evaluation show that readability has improved! Prior to the training, only 34% of decisions were considered easy to read and were found to be a grade 10 reading level. After the training, that figure rose to 51%.

The evaluation also shows where we still have work to do in order to hit our target reading level, which we’ve set at grade 9. We are dedicated to this, because we can always improve how we communicate. We will keep reporting on our progress because evaluation is part of our commitment to accountability to the people we serve.

Paul Aterman
Social Security Tribunal of Canada

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