Navigator service

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What is a navigator?

We offer a navigator service to better support people who don’t have a professional representative, like a lawyer.

Our navigators are specialized staff with in-depth knowledge of the appeal process. They help with:

  • Canada Pension Plan Disability appeals at the General Division
  • all types of appeals at the Appeal Division once permission to appeal has been given

Navigators can guide you through your appeal process with one-on-one support from start to finish. They can answer questions you may have about preparing for a hearing or how a hearing works.

What navigators cannot do is give you legal advice or act as your advocate or representative. They have to be neutral because they work for the Tribunal, and the Tribunal is neutral.

Why are you offering the navigator service?

We want to make justice accessible for everyone. Many people appear before the Tribunal without professional (legal) representation. People who are doing their appeals without any help could benefit from extra support. That’s why we’ve introduced the navigator service.

What do navigators do?

If a navigator is assigned to your appeal, your navigator will accompany you through the appeal process. They will help you to prepare for your hearing. But they are not your lawyer or your advocate, so they will not give you legal advice. Your navigator will support you through your appeal from start to finish. They will be available for your questions.

Can I have a navigator?

This service is currently available for Canada Pension Plan Disability appeals at the General Division and appeals at the Appeal Division once permission to appeal has been given. If you’re eligible for a navigator, we will let you know. You don’t have to ask for one.

Over time, we will expand this service to more types of appeals.

When will a navigator be assigned to my appeal?

At the General Division, we assign a navigator as soon as we receive the appeal.

At the Appeal Division, we assign a navigator once permission to appeal is given by a Tribunal Member.

Will the navigator attend my hearing?

No, navigators will not attend the hearing. They will accompany you through the appeal process by helping you to prepare for your hearing and explaining what happens at a hearing.

When will you expand this service?

Since November 2019, a small team of navigators has been handling the cases of people appealing Canada Pension Plan Disability decisions. We’re now expanding this service to all types of appeals at the Appeal Division. The number of navigators will gradually increase as we expand the service to include other types of Income Security appeals and some types of Employment Insurance appeals at the General Division.

Can navigators give legal advice?

Navigators cannot give legal advice or act as advocates. What they will do is guide you through the appeal process. They can explain the process to you. They can answer questions you may have. They can explain what happens at a hearing.

Will navigators replace representatives?

No. The navigator service will never replace representatives or their role.

Can navigators refer people to representatives or other organizations?

No, navigators do not make referrals to specific representatives. Because we know some people need additional help with their appeal, we do keep a list of organizations that can help, and navigators can refer people to this list. The decisions to have a representative, and to pick an individual representative, belong entirely to the person going through the appeal process. If you have any suggestions for groups that provide free assistance that we should add to this list, please do not hesitate to share that information with us.

What happens if I have a navigator, then I decide to get professional representation?

The navigator service exists to help people who don’t have professional representation. Once a professional representative is working for you, we will no longer navigate your appeal.

If I had a navigator for my appeal at the General Division, will I have the same navigator if I appeal at the Appeal Division?

No. We will assign you a new navigator. The navigators at each division have specialized knowledge of each appeal process.

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