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ADMINISTRATIVE LAW | SPPA / Fairness (Administrative)

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Appeal Court Dicta

Pensions - Canada Pension Plan - Administrative Appeals

. Smith v. Canada (Attorney General)

In Smith v. Canada (Attorney General) (Fed CA, 2023) the Federal Court of Appeal notes an amendment to the procedural provisions of the Appeal Division of the Social Security Tribunal [found in the Income Security Section of DESDA ('Department of Employment and Social Development Act')], a central procedural law when dealing with social security appeals and judicial reviews:
[55] It should be noted that section 58.3 of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act, S.C. 2005, c. 34 (the DESDA) now provides that an appeal from the Income Security Section (the applicable section in this matter) is to be heard and determined as a new proceeding. However, this provision was added to this statute by S.C. 2021, c. 23, s. 229, after the Appeal Division rendered its decision on July 14, 2020.
. Sibbald v. Canada (Attorney General)

In Sibbald v. Canada (Attorney General) (Fed CA, 2022) the Federal Court of Appeal considered the role of the Appeal Division of the federal Social Security Tribunal, here in a CPP disability child benefit matter:
[27] The role of the Appeal Division is constrained pursuant to subsection 58(1) of the DESD. "“[The Appeal Division] can only intervene if the General Division failed to observe a principle of natural justice, erred in law or based its decision on an erroneous finding of fact made in a perverse or capricious manner, [or without regard for the material before it]. It cannot step in for the sole reason that it would have weighed the evidence differently”": Uvaliyev v. Canada (Attorney General), 2021 FCA 222, 338 A.C.W.S. (3d) 295 at para. 7.


[29] At paragraph 41 of Walls v. Canada (Attorney General), 2022 FCA 47, 2022 A.C.W.S. 742, this Court recently clarified the meaning of the terms found in paragraph 58(1)(c) of the DESD as follows:
[A] perverse or capricious finding of fact is one where the finding squarely contradicts or is unsupported by the evidence […] [T]he notion of "“perversity”" has been interpreted as "“willfully going contrary to the evidence”". The notion of "“capriciousness”" or of the factual findings being made without regard to the evidence would include "“circumstances where "there was no evidence to rationally support a finding or where the decision maker failed to reasonably account at all for critical evidence that ran "counter to its findings”".


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