ODSP is an essential program for persons with disabilities who have no or very limited sources of income. Doctors play a very important role in the application process for ODSP benefits. But for many people, getting the medical evidence they need can be very hard, especially when there are long wait lists to see specialists like psychiatrists. When evidence from specialists is available, it is very important that it be taken into account.
ISAC co-counselled with Community Legal Services of Ottawa in a case about a person who was denied ODSP benefits because the Social Benefits Tribunal refused to consider an expert report from a psychiatrist. The Tribunal said that it would not consider the report because it was written four months after Mr. M.C.’s ODSP application had been turned down.
The Divisional Court said that the Tribunal made a mistake. The doctor who wrote the report said very clearly that in his opinion, Mr. M.C. was experiencing serious symptoms of his disability for the past five years. The Court said that the Tribunal was wrong to refuse to deal with the specialist’s medical opinion.
This case is very important because it confirms that when a person appeals an ODSP decision, medical evidence must be considered if it is talking about the person’s disability at the time that they applied for ODSP, even if the medical report was written after the ODSP application was turned down.
To read the decision, click here: http://canlii.ca/t/j03fn