The Social Security Tribunal is too broken to be fixed. That is the conclusion of a recent CUPE analysis of the Social Security Tribunal, which was set up by the Conservative government to hear appeals relating to Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, and the Canada Pension Plan.
The Social Security Tribunal, which replaced three separate appeals systems, is actually a perfect example of how not to do public policy:
- There was no consultation with Canadians before the change was announced;
- There was no consultation on how to structure the new Tribunal;
- The new Tribunal structure completely removed the voice and labour market experience of workers from the appeal process;
- The Tribunal has functioned badly from the start: wracking up huge backlogs, imposing long wait-times on Canadians; and suffering from mismanagement, errors, and understaffing.
To add insult to injury, workers have been forced to pay for this abysmal failure as part of the funding for the Tribunal comes from EI and CPP premiums.
In a written submission to KPMG, which has been hired by the federal government to review the Social Security Tribunal, CUPE is calling for the elimination of the Social Security Tribunal and the restoration of the previous appeals systems.
Furthermore, CUPE is calling on the government to respect the tripartite nature of EI by including the voice and perspectives of workers in managing the EI system and its appeal process. CUPE stands ready to work with the federal government to build an EI system that is fair, accessible, and respects the rights of workers.