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Before the hearing
Hearing location and date
Hearings are held in a community near you. The Appeals Secretariat will mail you a letter with the date, time and hearing location. You are expected to take part in person on the date and at the location given in the letter from the Appeals Secretariat.
Contact the Appeals Secretariat when you get their letter if you:
- have to change the hearing date and pick a new date you both agree on
- need to find out how to take part because you, or the person you gave authority to act on your behalf, cannot go in person
You, or the person acting on your behalf, must take part in the hearing. If something comes up at the last minute and you are not able to be there, tell the Appeals Secretariat immediately. If this does not happen:
- the appeal panel may decide you chose to end your appeal without telling anyone – this is called abandoning an appeal
- the appeal panel’s decision that you abandoned your appeal is final
- your right to appeal will end
- your appeal will be closed
The Income and Employment Support (IES) program sends an appeal package to you and the appeal panel at least 1 week before the hearing. Make sure to:
- read this package when it comes – it includes copies of all the documents the IES program used to make the decision you are appealing
- bring the package to the appeal hearing
If you do not get the package or documents are missing, contact the Appeals Secretariat.
At the hearing
An appeal hearing usually lasts an hour. It is closed to the public and not recorded. These people will take part in person, by telephone or video conference:
- 3 appeal panel members including 1 chair and 2 panel members
- you and/or the people you said would be there acting on your behalf or supporting you
- someone from the IES program and any people they have supporting them
What takes place
- The chair introduces everyone and goes over the rules, then asks if:
- you and the person from the IES program understand the decision being appealed
- anyone objects to the people on the panel or their right to decide your appeal
- If there are no objections, the chair asks if everyone received the appeal package and if they can confirm all their documents were included. The chair also asks if anyone has information that was not included in the appeal package that the appeal panel should consider. If there is, then you or the person from the IES program can ask for:
- copies of the new information
- a short break to review it
- the hearing to be moved to another day to allow more time to review it
- The person from the IES program and their supporters present their information first. You and the panel will:
- let them speak without interrupting them to hear why they made their decision
- be able to ask questions after each person speaks
- Next, you or the person acting on your behalf, and others who support your appeal will present your information. The person from the IES program and the panel will:
- let you speak without interrupting you to hear why you disagree with the decision that was made
- be able to ask questions after each person speaks
- The chair asks the person from the IES program, then you or the person acting on your behalf, to summarize your information and the decision you would like the panel to make.
- The chair ends the hearing and lets you know when you can expect the panel's decision.
After the hearing
The appeal panel will decide to agree with, reverse or change part of the IES program’s decision. Once this happens:
- you will get a letter after the hearing with the appeal panel’s decision and reasons for the decision
- the appeal panel’s decision is final – this means they cannot look at new information after the hearing or change their decision
- you cannot file another appeal on their decision or the IES program’s decision
Concerns about the appeal hearing
If you think the appeal hearing was unfair or the appeal panel’s decision does not follow the Income and Employment Supports Act or the Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, you have 2 options:
Option 1. File a complaint to the Ombudsman
You can make a complaint to the Alberta Ombudsman’s office. They cannot reverse or change an appeal panel decision, but they can:
- review the appeal process
- make recommendations, including that the appeal panel re-hear the case
Option 2. Apply for a judicial review
A judicial review happens through the Court of Queen’s Bench. The Court cannot reverse or change an appeal panel decision, however they can decide if the appeal panel:
- acted within its legal authority
- followed a fair process
- made a reasonable decision based on the situation
When a judicial review happens, the Court:
- cannot make a new decision
- will send the case back for the appeal panel to hear again if it agrees the hearing was unfair – if this happens, different panel members will hear your appeal
If you wish to apply for a judicial review, you must:
- file an Originating Application for Judicial Review, Form 7, Alberta Rules of Court, Rule 3.8 with the Court within 6 months from the date the appeal panel made its decision
- decide if you need a lawyer to assist you – if you do, then contact the Law Society of Alberta’s referral service at 1-800-661-1095 or Legal Aid Alberta at 1-866-845-3425 for help finding one
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