This post is about the decimation of the Social Benefits Tribunal as recently reported by Tribunal Watch Ontario. See Statement of Concern.
What does the Social Benefits Tribunal Do?
Claimants applying to the SBT are among the poorest and most vulnerable in Ontario. The vast majority of its caseload involves appeals by the disabled from the Ministry of Community and Social Services’ denials of their claims for disability benefits.
In May 2020 Tribunal Watch reported that the Social Benefits Tribunal was down to 21 full or part-time members from the 38 who were in place on April 30, 2018. Experienced members had not been re-appointed, including the respected Associate Chair.
This trend has continued since May reducing the number of adjudicators even further. This drastic reduction in the number of adjudicators on the tribunal’s roster has prevented the tribunal from even scheduling hearings for any of the appeals filed in the last 12 months. This contrasts to the tribunal’s pre-2018 practive of routinely scheduling hearings – and holding them – within six months of an appeal being filed.
QUESTION: What is the remedy for a government failing to fund the delivery of benefits mandated by statute?