Navigator service

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What's 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.

At the General Division, they help with:

  • Old Age Security appeals
  • Canada Pension Plan appeals (including disability appeals)
  • Employment Insurance appeals related to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

At the Appeal Division, they help with:

  • all types of appeals 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 can't 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’ll help you to prepare for your hearing. But they’re not your lawyer or your advocate, so they won’t give you legal advice. Your navigator will support you through your appeal from start to finish. They’ll be available for your questions.

Can I have a navigator?

At the General Division, this service is currently available for:

  • Old Age Security appeals
  • Canada Pension Plan appeals (including disability appeals)
  • Employment Insurance appeals related to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

At the Appeal Division, this service is currently available for:

  • all types of appeals once permission to appeal has been given

If you don’t have a professional representative, like a lawyer, to help you with your appeal, you may be eligible for a navigator. We’ll let you know. You don’t have to ask for one.

Over time, we’ll 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 won’t attend the hearing. They’ll 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. The service expanded in November 2020 to appeals at the Appeal Division.

We’re now expanding this service at the General Division to include Old Age Security appeals, Canada Pension Plan (non-disability) appeals, and Employment Insurance appeals related to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

People involved in these types of appeals and who don’t have a legal representative will have the benefit of a navigator to help guide them through the process.

Over time, navigators will also be available for group appeals linked to Employment Insurance at the General Division.

Can navigators give legal advice?

Navigators can’t give legal advice or act as advocates. What they’ll 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 don't 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 don't 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'll 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'll assign you a new navigator. The navigators at each division have specialized knowledge of each appeal process.

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