OAS/GIS General Division: How to prepare for your hearing
The information on this page is also available in a visual guide.
Read your Notice of Hearing
Most appeals have a hearing. When your appeal is ready for a hearing, we’ll send a Notice of Hearing to you and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). ESDC is a party in the appeal. Service Canada sent you the reconsideration decision on behalf of ESDC.
Read the Notice of Hearing carefully. It will explain:
- when your hearing is
- what type of hearing you’ll have
- how to join the hearing
If you have a representative, they’ll get the Notice of Hearing too.
We won’t send the Notice of Hearing to witnesses or support persons. If you have witnesses or a support person, tell them the hearing details so they can be there.
Contact us if you have questions about your Notice of Hearing.
Read the documents we send you
We’ll send you copies of all the documents in your appeal file. You should read them and keep them together.
The SST member will look at them to help them decide your appeal.
Have the documents with you at the hearing. It’s your responsibility to keep track of the documents we send you and to bring the necessary documents to the hearing.
Find out what a hearing is like
How formal is a hearing?
Hearings are informal. They’re a conversation between the member and the parties. The SST isn’t a court. We try to make the process a simple, informal conversation.
The member will guide you through the hearing.
The member will tell you what to call them. We don’t use the title “Your Honour.”
We’ll address you with “Mr.” or “Ms.” unless you say otherwise. Let us know if you want us to use another pronoun or form of address.
Who will be there?
Usually, just the parties involved in the appeal and 1 member will be there.
You’re a party. If you have a representative , they’ll be there too.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is also a party. It may send a representative.
Other people who could be there include:
What if you need a break?
Ask the member if you need a break. Breaks are flexible.
You can have food and drink with you.
How long is the hearing?
Hearings vary in length. We schedule 90 minutes for a hearing.
We schedule 2 hours for a hearing if you need an interpreter because interpreting takes more time.
Change the date of your hearing if you need to
You can ask to reschedule your hearing if the date or time doesn’t work for you. This may delay your hearing.
How you reschedule depends on when you got your Notice of Hearing:
You got your Notice of Hearing within the last 2 days
We can reschedule the hearing over the phone if you got your Notice of Hearing within the last 2 business days.
We’ll work with you to set a new hearing date. Usually, we can change your hearing date only once.
You got your Notice of Hearing more than 2 days ago or you want to change your hearing date a second time
Explain in detail why you can’t be at the hearing set in your Notice of Hearing. The member will decide whether we can reschedule the hearing.
This is called “asking for an adjournment.” You’re asking the member to adjourn (change) the hearing to another date.
If the member says they’ll adjourn the hearing, we’ll work with you to set a new hearing date.
If the member says they won’t adjourn the hearing, we won’t change the date. The hearing will be at the date and time in your Notice of Hearing.
After the first adjournment, the rules for getting another adjournment become stricter. You have to show that there are exceptional circumstances for you to need another adjournment. For example, you’re sick and you have a doctor’s report to show it.