Social Security Tribunal index scores measuring access to justice

Department of Justice access to justice index + A2JBC in one continuous policy and results cycle

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Access to Justice (A2J) Index is primarily a diagnostic tool for a tribunal to assess strengths, gaps and choices in key subcategories of A2J.

Physical and technological access




Access to justice

The A2JBC measurement framework ensures that access to justice initiatives benefit from evidenced-based measures to assess progress

SST steps going forward, description below
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Access to justice

Improved user experience of access to justuce

Improved population access to justice

Improved costs

Department of Justice index + A2JBC in one continuous policy and results cycle

SST policy results cylce image, description below
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DOJ A2J Index

  • Physical and Technological Access
  • Processes
  • Costs
  • Outcomes

The DOJ Index asks 91 questions covering diverse aspects of access to justice. Each question reveals potential reas for priority attention and confirms areas of existing strength. Its index scoring is suitable for baselining future comparison.

Carry out DOJ’s 91-question index.

Analyze gaps, set baseline.

Implement changes.

Examples of A2J initiatives underway include: evaluation of navigator program, plain language decisions and correspondence, website changes.

Access to Justice.

  • Improved user experience of access to justuce
  • Improved population access to justice
  • Improved costs

Report results.

Preliminary DOJ index scores

Overall Index Score: 344/400

Physical and technological access

  • 27 Questions on physical and technological access
  • 22 “YES” answers
  • 5 “NO” answers
  • Index Score: 89.83 / 100


  • 50 Questions on procedural justice, representation, information, interpersonal
  • 46 “YES” answers
  • 4 “NO” answers
  • Index Score: 95.16 / 100


  • 9 Questions on user and tribunal costs
  • 8 “YES” answers
  • 1 “NO” answer
  • Index Score: 90.00 / 100


  • 5 Questions on transparency and functional justice
  • 4 “YES” answers
  • 1 “NO” answer
  • Index Score: 68.75 / 100

Where SST scored positively on the DOJ indexFootnote 1

Although all of the below score positive, the Index does not measure quality or completeness of SST’s engagement. Examples are indicated by

Physical and technological access

  • No substantiated claim of failure to accommodate in 12 months

  • Parties are given hearing form choices: in person, TC, VC, in writing

  • SST can respond to general or specific questions by email, phone, TTY

  • Website: understandable to various literacy levels; meets TB accessibility standards; uses web-diagnostic tools; is designed to facilitate navigation; solicits feedback; offers technical assistance; responds to feedback about website issues

  • Oral processes held in locations as close a possible to parties

  • Hearing rooms accessible, hearings sites near public transit

  • SST open to public, reception staff on site

  • Can call SST outside of regular business hours

  • Parties can watch live or simulated oral processes

  • SST accommodates special needs

  • Parties are given scheduling choices



  • SST monitors members, staff, trends, needs regarding SRPs

  • Parties can have support person of their choice during their process

  • Training of members and staff on duty to accommodate

  • Mental health supports for FT members, staff, and referrals for parties

  • Regular outreach

  • Plain language in writing and in oral communication

  • No substantiated claim with OCOL in past 12 months

  • Members trained in active adjudication, objectivity and bias

  • Parties can choose processes as case goes through the system

  • Foreign-language interpretation provided

  • Client satisfaction evaluated, issues addressed

  • Data system and performance indicators on A2J in place

  • External and internal service standards met

  • Information and support to self-represented parties (SRPs)



  • Reimburses parties expenses (in a limited number of cases)

  • Users can access public legal education and information free

  • Toll-free telephone and fax lines

  • SST budgets money for parties’ information needs

  • Pays for foreign-language interpretation in proceedings

  • Provides copies of file documents free on request

  • Users can launch a proceeding and file documents without a fee

  • Partners with pro bono public legal education and information



  • Considers roles of parties in disputes (e.g. employer/employee)

  • Reasons for decision are clearly communicated to parties (e.g. plain language)

  • Before issued, decisions are reviewed for consistency, transparency or other attributes

  • Reasons reviewed for quality (e.g. plain or accessible language)

Where SST scored negatively on the DOJ index Footnote 2

Physical and technological access

  1. Rooms not available where lawyers/ representatives can meet privately with clients
  2. Parties are not informed that they can watch a live or simulated oral process
  3. No child care or child-friendly spaces
  1. Website not accessible to persons with different learning styles, such as the inclusion of visual and audio presentation of information
  2. Does not use online smart forms


  1. SST does not monitor members for implicit prejudice
  2. Website lacks glossary
  3. No written resources in languages other than French and English
  4. Does not provide information using visual aids


  1. Does not pay for the translation of key documents into languages other than French and English


  1. After issued, decisions are not monitored internally for consistency in application

Next steps toward improving A2J at the Tribunal

SST steps going forward, description below
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2019-20 Q4

  1. Complete the DOJ Index, modifying as necessary to the SST context. Assess results
  2. A2J a consideration at Strategic Planning Session

2020-21 Q1


  1. Plan and implement priority initiatives over a one-, two- or three-year horizon
  2. Develop performance measures based on A2J BC measures



  1. Report results, redo DOJ Index annually
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