Do you feel like your CPP disability application is taking an extremely long time to process? Has a Service Canada employee given you misleading information or treated you poorly? This article will tell you everything you need to know about filing a complaint against Service Canada.
They may tell you that there is nothing they can do, but there is an office that can help: the Office for Client Satisfaction (OCS). You may not have heard of it; there was news a few years back that Service Canada employees are instructed not to give information about the OCS unless a client specifically mentions it. I don’t know whether or not this is still the case, but it seems to me that many people still don’t know where they can turn.
When you file a complaint with the Office for Client Satisfaction, you will receive immediate attention to your claim. Additionally, if an employee is treating you poorly or giving out improper information, they will hopefully be spoken to regarding that.
As part of our Ultimate Guide to CPP Disability Benefits, I am writing this article to help identify situations when you might need to file a complaint and how to go about doing it.
While I’ve only worked at Resolute Legal for a couple of months, I’ve already experienced some of the frustration that our clients have with Service Canada and their employees. Thankfully, we had a former client of ours share his story with us about his experience with the Office for Client Satisfaction.
Case Study: Robert’s Story
Robert painstakingly prepared his application for CPP disability benefits with the help of our articles on the blog and mailed it in — almost 40 pages long, carefully and thoroughly prepared. He received a phone call in January 2019. The representative he spoke with said they had received all the necessary documentation and that Robert’s application would be passed onto the medical adjudicator for processing. They clarified that this process typically took about 3 months and that if he hadn’t heard from Service Canada by the end of that time, he should call back and check the status of his application.
The 3 months passed and Robert hadn’t heard back yet, so he gave them a call. He was told that it would actually take 4 months to process his application — not 3 — and that he must have been given false information. He patiently waited for the extra month and had to call again. This time, he was told the processing time wasn’t 3 or 4 months — it was 6! Frustrated with the repeated misinformation he was getting, Robert requested to speak to a supervisor. He was told that he would get a call later that day, but that call never came.
He waited for the additional 2 months to pass and still had not heard from Service Canada, so once again he called to check the status. On this third call, upon revealing that there was no change to the status of his application, they elevated his claim to have a decision in 15 days.
15 additional days passed and he received no call. He called Service Canada yet again and was told that his application had been elevated; he would hear from the medical adjudicator in the next 3 days. He was skeptical, to say the least. Much to his surprise, he got a call from them that same afternoon. Robert asked if this had been the first time someone had looked at his application and the employee admitted that it was — confirming that his application had been sitting on a desk for nearly 7 months at this point.
After 2 short questions, the employee came to the conclusion that they would need more medical information to process Robert’s claim. Service Canada received this additional information in August 2019. Robert was told he needed to wait another 3 weeks to process the claim.
At this point, Robert was at his wits’ end. He was disappointed with how they were treating his application and how the whole situation had transpired. He filed a complaint with the Office for Client Satisfaction on August 27, 2019. He received a call from their office the very next morning. They were appalled at what had happened and told Robert he would be receiving a call from the Regional Manager to rectify the situation.
Within a couple of days, he received a call from the Regional Manager who told him that his application had been processed and that he qualified for CPP disability benefits! The manager explained everything in detail: how much was to be deposited and that the funds were to be released that day; that there was no income tax deducted and that he would be responsible for that.
This experience was very stressful and frustrating for Robert. If he had not been diligent with keeping on top of things as well as getting help when he could, who knows at what stage his application would be in.
If Robert’s story feels familiar to you and you feel that you have been mistreated by Service Canada, there is some recourse that you can take. Follow this article to learn how to file a complaint against Service Canada.
What is the Office for Client Satisfaction?
The Office for Client Satisfaction (OCS) is an organization that receives, reviews and responds to complaints or compliments about Service Canada. They strive for promptness, thorough and impartial review, and personalized attention.
They ensure that your concern is:
- Acknowledged within 24 hours of receiving the complaint
- Given proper attention
- Treated fairly
- Addressed within 7 working days (in most cases)
How do I know if I should file a complaint?
The OCS recommends trying to resolve things at a local level first; filing a complaint with the Office of Client Satisfaction should be your last resort. Try to speak with managers at the Service Canada location that you are dealing with and attempt to resolve it there. If this is not possible, then contact the Office of Client Satisfaction.
Some reasons that may lead you to file a claim could be:
- Mistakes that could result in a misunderstanding
- Employee behaviour
- Poor or misleading information
- Other service related issues
You can also use this to submit a compliment if an employee went above and beyond for you.
How do I file a complaint against Service Canada?
On these pages, you will see two drop down menus: one asking which program you are contacting them about, and the second asking what the nature of the complaint or compliment is. After these are filled out, you will need to fill out the main part of the form that asks about your experience — make sure to be detailed at this point! Underneath that section, they ask a few questions requesting some personal information: first name, last name, email address and phone number.
Once you hit submit, you just need to wait for a phone call from the office.
Keep in mind, the Office for Client Satisfaction does have some limitations. They are not in a position to:
- Assist you with an appeal or application to a Service Canada program
- Speed up or influence the application or payment process in any way on your behalf
- Assist you with or make enquiries on your behalf regarding any other process for programs or services offered by other federal government departments or provincial or municipal governments.
You can also contact them toll-free at the following telephone number: 1-866-506-6806
We hope that reading Robert’s story has helped you realize that there are steps you can take if you feel you have been wronged by Service Canada.
If you are dealing with a claim that has been denied, or are looking for some information on applying for a disability claim, you can contact us at 888-732-0470. You will speak with a member of our disability support team that will gather your information and get you scheduled in to speak with the appropriate disability consultant. If you would prefer, you can also schedule a free consultation online.