Federal Court

Public Law

Social programs

Welfare benefits

Recipient reasonably believed Service Canada would be notified of change of marital status through tax returns

Jurisdiction. Applicant recipient received Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) calculated by Service Canada on basis that she was single. Recipient had disclosed on her tax returns that she was in common-law relationship and assumed, based on information on Service Canada website, that Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would inform Service Canada of change. Service Canada did not find out about change in status for three years and notified recipient that she was required to repay overpayment of $13,189. General Division of Social Security Tribunal summarily dismissed recipient’s appeal on basis that it lacked jurisdiction. General Division found that it could not entertain appeals in respect of decisions to forgive or reduce overpayment of benefits as only Minister of Employment and Social Development could forgive or reduce overpayment. Appeal Division of Social Security Tribunal upheld General Division’s decision. Recipient brought application for judicial review. Application dismissed. Recipient reasonably believed that Service Canada would be notified of her change of marital status through her income tax returns. There was nothing unreasonable in finding that General Division and Appeal Division did not have jurisdiction to deal with appeal. Recipient’s only remedy in respect of requirement to repay overpayment was to ask Minister to forgive overpayment.

Nanka v. Canada (Attorney General) (2018), 2018 CarswellNat 5374, 2018 CarswellNat 5543, 2018 FC 959, 2018 CF 959, James W. O’Reilly J. (F.C.).

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