Ruling on intervener status requests

Last updated: May 2017

Purpose of guidelines

The purpose of these guidelines is to assist members in determining whether to grant a request by a non-party to participate in an appeal as an intervener.

Since starting its operations in April 2013, the Tribunal has received only one request to participate as an intervener. These guidelines are therefore limited to the determination of whether to grant intervener status; they do not address the process to be followed once intervener status has been granted. More detailed guidelines will be developed over time. In the interim, members should contact Legal Services and inform their vice-chairperson when dealing with a request to participate as intervener.

These guidelines do not apply to requests to participate as a party under subsection 10(1) of the Social Security Tribunal Regulations (Regulations) or persons added as parties under section 65 of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act (DESD Act).

What is an intervener?

An intervener is a person or organization who does not have a direct interest in a particular court or tribunal proceeding, but is granted intervener status on a discretionary basis because their involvement would be helpful to the determination of the issues. The intervener’s participation rights are determined by the Tribunal member and are generally more limited than those of a party. For example, intervention is widely used by specialized organizations and advocacy groups to present submissions before courts and tribunals on issues of public interest within their expertise.

Power to grant intervener status

In Canada (Combines Investigation Act Director of Investigation & Research) v. Newfoundland Telephone Co., [1987] 2 S.C.R. 466, the Supreme Court of Canada noted that in the absence of express provisions to the contrary, a tribunal’s power to grant intervener status may be implied from its power to hold hearings or conduct an inquiry.

The DESD Act and the Regulations do not contain any express provisions regarding intervention. However, the Tribunal has the power to conduct hearings, remedy gaps in the Regulations by way of analogy (s. 3(2) of the Regulations) and add a person as a party to a proceeding (s. 10(1) of the Regulations).

Factors to consider

When determining whether to exercise their discretion to grant a request for leave to intervene, members should contact Legal Services and inform their vice-chairperson. Members may consider factors such as:

Decision granting intervener status

If the member decides to grant the request for intervener status, the decision should specify the manner in which the intervener will be allowed to participate.
Depending on the circumstances and the form of hearing, the member may consider whether the intervener:

Date modified: