Practice Direction 2015-01: Procedure for Completing Incomplete Notices of Appeal

Date Issued: May 1, 2015

Application

This practice direction applies to incomplete notices of appeal filed with the Tribunal’s Employment Insurance Section of the General Division. The practice direction applies until rescinded, replaced or modified.

Purpose

The purpose of this practice direction is to set out the procedure for completing a notice of appeal, before the Employment Insurance Section of the Tribunal’s General Division, when some of the mandatory information, prescribed by the Social Security Tribunal Regulations (Regulations), is missing.

Background

Section 52 of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act (DESD Act) sets out the timeframe within which an appeal may be brought to the Tribunal. The legislated timeframe to bring an Employment Insurance appeal is 30 days after the date the Canada Employment Insurance Commission’s (Commission) reconsideration decision was communicated to the appellant. The Tribunal may allow further time to bring an appeal, but in no case can an appeal be brought more than a year after the communication of the reconsideration decision to the appellant. If an appeal is not filed within the timeframe set out in the DESD Act, then a Tribunal Member must decide whether or not to grant an extension allowing further time to bring the appeal before the matter can proceed to the next steps.

Subsection 24(1) of the Regulations determines the information that an appeal must contain. However, the Regulations are silent on the procedure for completing an appeal in situations where the appellant informs the Tribunal of his or her intention to appeal without providing all the information required by the Regulations. In these situations, the Tribunal informs the appellant of the obligation to provide the missing information. However, given the short timeframes, the Tribunal often receives the missing information after the end of the 30 day period to file an appeal.

If the Tribunal were to consider these notices of appeal as being filed after the 30 day timeframe to appeal, decisions on whether or not to grant extensions of time to appeal would be required before the appeals could proceed. Where the intent to appeal was signaled within the established timeframe, requiring Members to make quasi-judicial decisions on all these matters would be inefficient and cause unjustified delays. In particular, the Tribunal believes that this situation is contrary to its obligation, set out in paragraph 3(1)(a) of the Regulations, to "conduct proceedings as informally and quickly as the circumstances and the considerations of fairness and natural justice permit."

Subsection 3(2) of the Regulations allows the Tribunal to proceed by way of analogy to the Regulations if a question of procedure arises that is not dealt with by the Regulations. As the Regulations do not provide a specific period of time within which to file missing information in cases of incomplete notices of appeal, the Tribunal is adopting the following procedure:

Procedure for completing a notice of appeal

When the Tribunal receives a notice of appeal which is missing information required by the Regulations, a letter will be sent to the appellant asking him or her to complete the notice of appeal by filing all missing information within 30 days from the date of the letter.

If the Tribunal receives all the missing information within 30 days from the date of the letter, the appeal will be deemed to have been filed on the date that the incomplete notice of appeal was received by the Tribunal.

If the Tribunal receives the missing information after 30 days from the date of the letter, the Tribunal will deem the appeal to have been filed on the date the Tribunal received all the missing information.

In some cases, an appellant may have prematurely filed a notice of appeal with the Tribunal before the Commission’s reconsideration decision has been made. This may only come to the Tribunal’s attention upon receiving the missing information. In these cases, since there was no right to appeal at the time the Tribunal asked the appellant to complete the notice of appeal by filing the missing information, the appeal will be deemed to have been filed on the date that all the missing information is received by the Tribunal.

The 30-day period will be counted from the day immediately after the date of the letter the Tribunal sends to notify the appellant that the notice of appeal is incomplete. The Tribunal must receive the missing information by end of the day on the 30th day.

Once the notice of appeal is complete, the Tribunal will establish the date the appeal is deemed to have been filed (as per the criteria above) and a determination will be made as to whether the appeal was filed within the timeframe to appeal or whether a Member must determine whether or not to grant an extension of time.

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