SOCIAL BENEFITS HEARING JAN 17 2007- SUMMARY REPORT
This was about my so-called social assistance overpayment described on my web site, and my appeal to have the claim against me for about $6,000 over-turned.
1. Preliminary items (these occupied about 30 mins.)
This concerned the lengthy legal submission (over 4 pages) from the City of Ottawa, supposedly dated December 21st 2006 but received by me only on Monday January 15th – 2 days before the hearing, which is less than the minimum 10 days required by law for such submissions, and in this case it contained substantial legal points in support of the City of Ottawa’s case.
The Judge showed me her copy of this document, which indicated she had received it on December 26th (if I recall correctly). I made clear that at no time since December 21st, up to Friday January 12th, did I even receive notification in any form of any such submission – for instance, no card from Canada Post concerning any registered letter for pick up. Nor had I heard anything of it from my lawyer in Toronto who had also been sent a copy.
Mr. Fox from the City of Ottawa and the Judge both accepted my explanation. Mr. Fox also could not explain how this had happened. Then they offered to adjourn the hearing so I could have more time to respond.
Notwithstanding the very short time frame, I had already been able to submit a full written response (by FAX and e-mail) in time for the hearing, so I still chose to proceed.
One of the legal points in this submission by Mr. Fox, concerning an appeal which I supposedly should have made back in 1995 (when from my standpoint there was nothing to appeal about, at the time) was removed from the rest of the hearing, after Mr. Fox and the Judge had accepted my explanation of why I thought it was out of order.
I also requested that the case against me be dropped on account of a current member of the Tribunal having been partly responsible for the situation which led to the need for this hearing in the first place. The rest of the hearing – what is called the substantive part - then proceeded.
2. The main hearing (the substantive part)
This lasted for about 1 1/2 hours.
It covered all the legal points except for the one already noted, in Mr. Fox s submission referred to above. The legal points and all the arguments based on them were founded on the social assistance legislation of the day, which the City was bound by. In each case I argued why the said legal points were not applicable in my case - namely, because the laws themselves were ill-founded in that they did not take account of the financial and other realities involved.
As an example, according to the law, the calculation of income and expenses on my property in Montreal could not include the mortgage payments - whereas in fact the mortgage payments were the major expense. This produced a major contradiction in which, according to the law, the property was running at a substantial profit - when in real accounting and business terms, it was running at a loss.
In this example and all the other points raised, my explanations – backed up by hardcopy documentation in every case - were accepted both by Mr. Fox and the Judge.
3. Summing up
Prior to the hearing, I had made detailed and fully documented hardcopy submissions concerning: -
(a) The problems with U.I. (E.I. from July 1st 1996), accessing ON-SITE, etc. caused in part by a current Tribunal member who was President of a federal Board of Referees – Roger R. Presseault - which wrongly refused me U.I. benefits on February 23rd 1995
(b) The history of the claim against me concerning the alleged social assistance overpayment and my efforts to resolve it through various people. This included interventions on my behalf by City of Ottawa Councillor Rick Chiarelli, which kept me out of trouble for two critical years
(c) My legal position, set out in a letter from the law firm Mills and Mills of Toronto
(d) A printout of the Ontario government s own web page showing the biographies of the current members of the Social Benefits Tribunal, including the person mentioned under (a) above.
Items (a), (b) and (d) above are the same as what is shown on my web site.
Prior to the hearing, the Judge had also prepared her own synopsis of my submissions based on items (a) to (d) above (on a standard pink form); this, I understood, is to be included with the reasons for the decision, whatever that is.
In the summing up, the Judge read this synopsis to me, which was correct on every point.
Mr. Fox then made some legal points based on the legislation of the day; these too, I understood, are to be included with the reasons for the decision.
I replied to these legal points, with the general point that the legislation itself was dysfunctional, as had already been discussed in its different aspects, earlier in the hearing. This reply by me, I understood, is also to be included with the reasons for the decision.
The Judge then told me that there would be a written decision within 60 days.
At this point the formal proceedings were over.
I then closed the hearing by reminding the Judge and the City of Ottawa’s Mr. Fox of the following: -
(a) All persons connected with this matter are publicly accountable for past and future events therein; the decision and the reasons for it will likely be reported in the local media and over the Internet
(b) The decision will have fundamental and important implications for the reputation of Canada and the Province of Ontario as a safe place to work and live, with particular reference to the foreign –trained professionals that Canada allegedly needs
(c) A decision based on commonsense would be appropriate
(e) A decision not based on common sense could be seen as questionable or even dangerous.
This appeared to be accepted by both the Judge and Mr. Fox; in any event, they made no attempt to argue with what I said.
1. There will be a written decision, with reasons, within 60 days.
2. At this point there seems to me to be no reason to suppose that there will not be a decision based on common sense – as opposed to one based on blind obedience to legislation which has been clearly proven not to make sense on account of ignoring the practical realities.
3. The proceedings were conducted with due attention to all the facts and arguments, and in accordance with my requirements concerning acceptable standards of professionalism with respect to attention to the facts, attention to the parameters of the problem and logical thinking.