Practice Directions support the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) Rules of Procedure and provide guidance about what the SBT expects of the parties and, in turn, what the parties can expect from the SBT. They assist in understanding the Rules.
All requests for reconsideration of a decision of the Social Benefits Tribunal will be considered on a case by case basis. The SBT will not consider requests to reconsider interim assistance decisions or, absent exceptional circumstances, any decision which is not a final determination of the substantive issues on appeal.
The SBT exercises its discretion to allow for reconsideration hearings where a serious error or omission has occurred, while discouraging unnecessary requests. In exercising its discretion to grant reconsideration hearings the SBT balances the public interest in preserving the finality of its decisions with the need to address substantive problems in decisions of the SBT without the need to appeal to court or seek judicial review.
Any party to a decision of the SBT may request a review of that decision. The SBT may extend the time for requesting a reconsideration up to one year from the decision.
A request for reconsideration shall be made to the SBT according to the procedure set out in Rule 15 of the SBT's Rules of Procedure. A completed Application for Reconsideration (Form 2) shall be signed by the person making the request.
The requesting party shall give a copy of the request to the other parties in the original proceeding at the same time that it is filed with the SBT. The request should be filed with the SBT within 30 days of receiving the decision.
Where a party is unable to obtain a Form 2, the SBT may accept a written request for reconsideration that is not in the prescribed form.
A request for reconsideration shall include:
The other parties may respond to the request for reconsideration within 15 days after receiving the request for reconsideration. The responses shall be given to all other parties and filed with the SBT.
The SBT shall issue its decision as to whether to hold a reconsideration hearing in writing. (Barnes v Ontario (Social Benefits Tribunal) 96 Admin L.R. (4th) 243)
The decision as to whether to hold a reconsideration hearing shall be issued not sooner than 20 days after the request is made and not more than 60 days after the request is made.
When deciding whether to grant a reconsideration hearing the SBT will take into account such factors as whether the SBT:
The SBT will consider the reason that evidence or argument was not raised at the original hearing. In the case of a party who did not attend the first hearing, the SBT will consider the reason for the party's absence.
If a reconsideration hearing is granted the SBT will send the parties a Notice of Hearing providing the date, time and place of the reconsideration hearing.
It may not always be necessary for the SBT to hold a completely new hearing. Rather the hearing may be limited to the issue for which the reconsideration was granted.
If a limited reconsideration is granted the SBT may assign the original Member to hear the reconsideration hearing.
The SBT will not grant a further request for reconsideration from the same party unless there are exceptional circumstances. For example, a failure to grant a subsequent reconsideration would result in serious procedural or substantive unfairness to a party.