Introduced in 1966, the Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) program is the largest public benefit program for long-term disability in Canada, providing $4.4 billion in benefits to 338,000 people and 83,000 of their children in the fiscal year of 2017-20181.

In 2015, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) reviewed the CPPD program. Part of the review examined whether ESDC assessed applications for CPPD in a consistent and timely manner:

“Canadians who have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan and cannot work because of a severe and prolonged disability may have to rely on the CPPD program as a source of income. The Department and Tribunal must manage the program as efficiently as possible to ensure the timely provision of the benefit to applicants who are entitled to it.”

— Office of the Auditor General of Canada
2015 Fall Report 6: Canada Pension Plan Disability Program
(emphasis added)

In anticipation of the tabling of the 2015 OAG Report on CPPD, ESDC initiated a comprehensive, multi-year (2015-2019), renewal of the CPPD program. The CPPD Renewal workplan emphasizes short and longer-term initiatives that support three target areas for improvement:

  • Improving the Appropriateness of decision making, to achieve consistent and sustainable decision on individual cases at the earliest possible opportunity in the adjudication process;
  • Addressing the Timeliness of the application process and adjudication process in order to address the need for quick decision making while also ensuring the quality of decisions; and
  • Enhancing the Openness of the program through better communication with clients and stakeholders.

In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, ESDC met the service standard of making a decision on applications for CPPD within 120 days of receiving a complete application 77.4% of the time2.

There is a clear need for CPPD applicants to receive the right decision on their application as quickly as possible. This need, coupled with ESDC’s efforts in CPPD program renewal, propelled CDS to partner with ESDC to explore how we can get people the answers and benefits they need more rapidly.