Vulnerable Canadians Hurt by Conservative Changes to the Social Security Tribunal
June 23rd, 2014 - 4:04pm
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims (Newton—North Delta, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, a new system and no transition plan leaves thousands of Canadians waiting years for a hearing. That is nothing to be proud of.
Last year, the income security section of the Social Security Tribunal held only 178 hearings. It will take nine and a half years just to hear all of the current cases. These are senior citizens, people with disabilities, our most vulnerable, heartlessly being left behind by the government.
Where is the minister's plan for fixing the mess that Conservatives have made of the Social Security Tribunal?
Hon. Candice Bergen (Minister of State (Social Development), CPC):
Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the NDP has never been in government and does not understand how some of these processes work.
Here are the facts. On April 1, 2013, the Social Security Tribunal was established. A year later, the members were ready. They are moving forward. We expect them to catch up with the backlog. We care about the people who are waiting for their hearings to be heard. We are not going to take lessons from the NDP, who do not understand that these processes are how they move forward.
Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, that minister should hang her head in shame. A woman in London suffering from a terminal medical condition requested an urgent hearing, in December 2012. A year and a half went by with no reply. She finally did hear back, but the tribunal will not see her before next fall.
Thousands of Canadians are being put in similar precarious situations. Why are the Conservatives refusing to fix the mess that they created with the Social Security Tribunal?