Appeal Process - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Appeal Process

Step One:

You must appeal within 30 days from when you receive notice of the department’s decision about your benefits and your right to appeal.

The first thing to do when you decide to appeal a decision about your financial benefits is obtain a Notice of Appeal Form and file it with the office handling your case or with the Appeals Secretariat.

Notice of Appeal Forms are also available from the office handling your case.

It is important to return a copy of the Notice of Appeal Form to the office that made the decision and keep a copy for yourself.

Remember, you may only submit an appeal to the office that advised you of a decision.

Step Two:

The Administrative Review (Informal Review). During this step, a senior staff person will review the original decision to determine if the matter can be resolved. If the matter is resolved, there will be no need to proceed to Step Three. If the matter has not been resolved, a hearing will be scheduled.

Step Three:

Appeal hearings (formal reviews) are normally scheduled on the first available date. You will be advised in writing or by phone of the date, time and location of your hearing. If you are unable to attend your hearing, contact the office at least 48 hours before your hearing.

Step Four:

The hearing takes place.

This is your chance to speak to the appeal panel and hear what the department representative has to say about your case.

  • The chairperson introduces everyone present and goes over the rules. He or she states the decision being appealed and asks if anyone objects to the people on the panel or their right to decide. The chairperson then asks if there is any new information or documents. You or the department representative can ask for a short break or request that your hearing be moved to another day to allow time to review any new information.
  • The department representative states the reason your application or request for a benefit was denied, changed or cancelled. The department representative will provide a presentation that supports the department’s decision. The representative is there to speak for the department and cannot speak on your behalf. He or she should be allowed to present without interruption, then the panel and you will be given an opportunity to ask the department representative relevant questions about the presentation.
  • Then it’s your turn to present. You may make your presentation verbally or in writing. You, your witness or the person speaking on your behalf are the only ones who will give information to support your case. You may also present your views on how the Act and Regulation apply to your request. The department representative will allow you to present your case without interruption. Then the panel and representative may ask you questions.
  • Finally, you and the department representative have the chance to make final statements based on the information given during the hearing.

Step Five:

The panel will make a decision and notify you in writing, which will explain the reasons for their decision. The decision will normally be sent to you within fourteen days of your appeal hearing.  In instances where legal counsel is involved it may take longer than fourteen days to issue a decision.

Step Six:

A party who is not satisfied with the hearing process or the decision of the hearing panel may apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench for a judicial review of the decision. The time limit to apply for a judicial review is six months from the date of the hearing panel’s decision. A judicial review is not a re-hearing; rather, it is a review of the process by which the decision was arrived at. Upon completion of the judicial review, the Court of Queen’s Bench may confirm the decision of the hearing panel or it may send the issue back to the Appeal Panel to be re-heard.

In order to have a decision of the hearing panel judicially reviewed by the Court of Queen’s Bench, the assistance of a lawyer will likely be required. Contact information for legal assistance can be found at www.legalaid.ab.ca and Court of Queen’s Bench locations around Alberta can be found online at www.albertacourts.ab.ca/qb/.

If a party believes the hearing was unfair, he/she may file a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office of the Ombudsman cannot change a decision of the hearing panel; however, it can review the process and make recommendations. The Ombudsman’s office number is 780‑427‑2756 in Edmonton or 403‑297‑6185 in Calgary. Additional information is available online at www.ombudsman.ab.ca.

Created:
Modified: 2017-07-24
PID: 16611