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PUBLIC PENSION PLANS - Canada Pension Plan - Pensions and supplementary benefits - Benefits payable - Child of disabled contributor benefit - Appeals and judicial review

Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 8:47 AM  


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Appeal and application for judicial review by Robbins challenging decisions finding he was not entitled to Disabled Contributor's Child Benefits. Robbins's entitlement to Benefits required submission of an application for disability benefits in 1997 identifying his children. In July 2014, the Federal Court affirmed a legislation officer's decision finding no evidence that Robbins submitted the requisite application in 1997, and therefore the denial of the Benefits did not result from administrative error. Robbins appealed the decision. In addition, Robbins sought judicial review of a decision by the Social Security Tribunal's Appeal Division issued in October 2014. Following directions issued in a 2010 Federal Court of Appeal judgment, the Appeal Division accepted written submissions on the issue of whether the 1997 application was submitted by Robbins. The Tribunal determined that the matter was conclusively determined by the July 2014 Federal Court decision, and declined to address the matter.

HELD: Appeal and application dismissed. The Federal Court properly chose reasonableness as the standard of review for the legislation officer's decision. For the reasons given, the Court correctly held that the legislation officer’s decision was reasonable. The Court properly found a thorough investigation was conducted into the matter. With respect to the Appeal Tribunal's decision, its fact-based determination that the matter had been resolved in the prior Federal Court proceeding failed to consider the theoretical possibility that dealing with the issue on the merits could have yielded a different result than the outcome reached by the legislative officer. However, setting aside the Appeal Tribunal’s decision and sending the matter back for redetermination would have no practical significance, as there was no doubt regarding the outcome given the record of the legislative officer's work and decision. No procedural unfairness was established.

Robbins v. Canada (Attorney General), [2017] F.C.J. No. 182, Federal Court of Appeal, D.W. Stratas, W.W. Webb and A.F.J. Scott JJ.A., February 2, 2017. Digest No. 3642-015