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Court ruling re CPP Disability Benefit - Bissessar v AG of Canada

CPP Disability Benefit applications have an internal appeals process through regional hearings. The CPP appeals board members are appointed. Rulings seem to vary over time based on the administrative policies and other factors. The case of Bissessar v AG of Canada seems to indicate that when the medical facts are clear and reasonable that a final appeal is both worthwhile, and, that the CPP Disability Pension can be granted through the decision of the Federal Appeal Court. This is significant since there is a limit to the retroactive payment based on the date of filing of CPP Disability Application.

There are lawyers who specialize in supporting CPP Disability claims.

In the case of Bissessar v. AG of Canada the appeal went to the Federal Appeals court which found for the plaintive.

Bissessar v. AG of Canada.
Federal Court of Appeal, December 9, 2019.
Neutral Cite: 2019 FCA 305.
Court File No. A-26-19.
Locke JA (Webb and Near JJA concurring).
Canada Pension Plan —

Application for judicial review of denial of application for CPP disability benefit —

The applicant had applied for, but been denied a disability pension under the Canada Pension Plan.

His appeals to the Social Security Tribunal - General Division (SST-GD) and the Social Security Tribunal - Appeals Division (SST-AD) were both dismissed, and he then sought judicial review of the decision of the SST-AD.

His application was based on an argument that the SST-GD had based its decision on an erroneous finding of fact that it made in a perverse or capricious manner, and the Federal Court of Appeal noted that the standard of review on the application was that of reasonableness.

The Court reviewed the decisions of both the SST-GD and the SST-AD in light of the medical evidence submitted. It concluded, based on that review, that it was unreasonable for the SST-AD to fail to recognize that the SST-GD had misunderstood key evidence, and hence based its decision on an erroneous finding of fact made without regard to the evidence before it.

In the Court’s view, it was not clear that any weighing of the evidence by the SST-AD was justified, transparent or intelligible and it therefore did not meet the required reasonableness standard.

The applicant had requested by way of remedy that the Court, rather than remitting the matter for reconsideration, order the SST-AD to allow the applicant’s appeal and grant his application for a disability pension. The Court held that, while such remedy was not normally available, the jurisprudence provided for two recognized exceptions to that rule and the application before it fell within one of those exceptions. Consequently, the Court was of the view that it was appropriate for it to make its own assessment on the record before it and direct the result which should follow.

The Court reviewed the medical evidence and concluded that the applicant was incapable of pursuing any substantially gainful occupation and that his disability was prolonged. The Court therefore granted the application for judicial review, set aside the decision of the SST-AD, directed it to grant the applicant’s appeal and, finally, issued an order granting the applicant’s application for a CPP disability pension. There was no order as to costs. —
Canada Pension Plan, RSC 1985, c. C-8, s. 42, 44.