PDD – How to appeal

Know when you can appeal decisions the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program makes and how to file or withdraw an appeal.

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What is an appeal

An appeal is when you ask an appeal panel to review a Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program decision that affects you. The appeal panel:

  • is made up of private citizens who are not Government of Alberta employees
  • has the authority and training to hear your appeal
  • may agree with, reverse or change the PDD program’s decision

Who can appeal

You can appeal a decision the PDD program made if you are:

  • receiving services or applied to receive services, and
  • affected by the decision about those services

What can be appealed

Under the Persons with Developmental Disabilities Services Act and Regulation (PDD Act and Regulation) you have the right to appeal most decisions the PDD program makes. These are general guidelines about decisions the appeal panel can and cannot review:

The appeal panel can review decisions about:

  • your eligibility for services
  • the type of services and the amount provided

They may agree with, reverse or change the PDD program’s decision.

The appeal panel cannot review decisions to:

  • refuse to enter into a contract with a service provider
  • end a contract with a service provider
  • change a contract with a service provider

For more detailed information, review the PDD Act and Regulation or contact the Appeals Secretariat.

Steps to file an appeal

Make sure to appeal within the 45-day deadline from the date you:

  • got the decision in person, by phone, email or letter
  • were told about your right to appeal

The deadline to appeal will be different if you choose to try mediation to resolve the concern first. Mediation is when a person who does not work for the PDD program helps you and the PDD program reach a decision that is agreeable to everyone involved. Your PDD worker will help arrange mediation.

If you choose mediation first and are not happy with the outcome, you can file an appeal up to 30 days from the date mediation ends.

Step 1. Complete a notice of appeal

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Fill out an appeal form

Step 2. File your notice of appeal

Make sure to:

  • include your signed Notice of Appeal form and the Authorization form if someone will be acting on your behalf
  • include a copy of the letter with the PDD decision you are appealing, if you received one
  • keep copies of all documents for your own files

Submit your documents by:

After you file an appeal

The Appeals Secretariat will review your Notice of Appeal to see if:

  • it is a decision that can be appealed under the PDD Act and Regulation
  • you filed your appeal within the deadlines

They will contact you if they need to:

  • get more information
  • find out why you were unable to appeal within the deadlines

Once the Appeals Secretariat has all the information they need, they will decide whether to accept your appeal.

If your appeal is accepted

The Appeals Secretariat will send you a letter saying your appeal has been accepted. They will also contact the PDD program to see if you tried the PDD dispute resolution process to resolve your concern. The process includes 3 options:

  • talking to the PDD program
  • requesting a PDD program decision review
  • mediation

If you have not tried the dispute resolution process before filing your appeal, the Appeals Secretariat will refer you to the PDD program. You will have 30 days to work with them and try one or more options to resolve your concern.

If you resolve your concern through the dispute resolution process, you can choose to withdraw your appeal. If you do not, the Appeals Secretariat will continue your appeal.

If your appeal continues

The Appeals Secretariat will start setting up your appeal hearing. Contact them, if you:

  • need an interpreter since all hearings are in English
  • want to get information about organizations that may be able to help you with your appeal
  • are waiting for any new information related to the appeal
  • want to withdraw your appeal
  • have moved or changed your phone number or email so they can reach you to give you the hearing date – if you do not take part when the hearing is scheduled, it may happen without you and your right to appeal will end

If your appeal cannot be accepted

The Appeals Secretariat may decide your appeal cannot be accepted for these reasons:

  • the appeal is for a PDD program decision that cannot be appealed under the PDD Act and Regulation and/or
  • you do not have a reasonable explanation for missing the appeal deadlines

When your appeal cannot be accepted, the Appeals Secretariat sends you a letter saying it cannot be accepted. Your appeal will be closed and not go to the appeal panel.

If you think the Appeals Secretariat’s decision is unfair, you cannot appeal their decision to the appeal panel. However, 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 Appeals Secretariat decision, but they can:

  • review the appeal process
  • make recommendations, including that the Appeals Secretariat re-consider the case

Option 2. Apply for a judicial review

A judicial review happens through the Court of King’s Bench. The Court cannot reverse or change an Appeals Secretariat decision, however they can decide if the Appeals Secretariat:

  • 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 Appeals Secretariat to consider again if it agrees the decision is unfair – if this happens, a different person from the Appeals Secretariat may consider your appeal

If you wish to apply for a judicial review, you must:

Find out what happens before, during and after the appeal hearing.

Withdrawing an appeal

You can withdraw your appeal at any time. This means it is stopped and you no longer want to appeal the PDD program’s decision.  Tell the Appeals Secretariat as soon as you choose to withdraw your appeal.


The Appeals Secretariat is a neutral government office that runs separately from the PDD program.

Connect with the Appeals Secretariat:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed noon to 1 pm and statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-2709
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-422-1088
Email: [email protected]

2nd floor, Agronomy Centre
6903 116 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T6H 5Z2