Social Justice Tribunals Ontario
2012-13 Annual Report

Child and Family Services Review Board
Custody Review Board
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
Landlord and Tenant Board
Ontario Special Education (English) Tribunal
Ontario Special Education (French) Tribunal
Social Benefits Tribunal

Disponible en français


Mandate, Mission and Values Statement

Our Mandate

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario is a cluster of seven adjudicative tribunals with a mandate to resolve applications and appeals brought under eight statutes relating to child and family services oversight, youth justice, human rights, residential tenancies, disability support and other social assistance, and special education.

Our Mission

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) and its constituent tribunals will:

Our Values

The Core Values inform how the SJTO and its constituent tribunals approach their mandate. They set the foundation for rules and policies, how those rules and policies will be applied, and how we deliver service to the public. The Core Values are:

Table of Contents

SOCIAL JUSTICE TRIBUNALS ONTARIO CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES REVIEW BOARD/CUSTODY REVIEW BOARD HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL OF ONTARIO LANDLORD AND TENANT BOARD ONTARIO SPECIAL EDUCATION TRIBUNALS SOCIAL BENEFITS TRIBUNAL SJTO MEMBERS SJTO FINANCIAL INFORMATION

SOCIAL JUSTICE TRIBUNALS ONTARIO

Executive Chair's Message

Michael Gottheil, Executive Chair
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

I am very pleased to present the 2012-2013 Annual Report of the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO).

In last year's report, I wrote about the concept of clustering. Specifically, how a tribunal cluster can improve access and the quality of justice by leveraging the strength of a larger organization, creating momentum for constructive change, and providing opportunities to gain efficiencies which can be re-invested into enhanced service delivery. While it is easy to articulate the opportunities clustering creates, transforming the organization to capitalize on these opportunities is a much more significant undertaking. I believe that over the past year we have made real strides. I would like to highlight a few.

SJTO has begun to mature as a justice organization. Staff and members alike have coalesced around our Mission and Core Values, and have worked together, on a variety of planes, to provide professional, high-quality dispute resolution to Ontarians. Within each tribunal and across the tribunals, SJTO members and staff are working to "raise the bar", develop innovative ways to enhance access to justice, and achieve one of the key elements of our Mission – to be leaders in the administrative justice sector.

Over the past year we identified four strategic priorities to guide our work: dispute resolution, external service delivery, internal transformation, and tribunal modernization. We also identified a number of projects within each area and mapped out an operational plan. Reflecting back over the last year, I am proud to say we have completed some projects, are well underway on a number of others, and well positioned to continue our exciting work.

Enhancing the Quality of Dispute Resolution

As part of our commitment to improve the quality and consistency of dispute resolution across the cluster, this past year we focused on a comprehensive member recruitment and cross-appointment strategy. Using the position descriptions we developed last year, and identifying needed skills, background and expertise within our tribunals, when vacancies came up, we were able to recruit and recommend highly qualified candidates. The open and competitive recruitment process also meant we had a better pool of candidates applying to become tribunal members.

We also provided a number of opportunities for cross-appointments. Here the focus was on leveraging the breadth and depth of knowledge that currently exists across the SJTO and filling particular gaps, supporting professional development, and providing career development opportunities. Where we identified the need for cross appointments, we ensured that members who are cross appointed have the requisite skills and qualifications. Cross appointments also assisted in improving our geographic coverage and French-language service delivery.

In 2012-13 we continued to work on our professional development strategy. We developed tribunal specific, new member training modules, which include common core competencies. We began work on online and in person courses on human rights, evidence, decision writing and other skill areas. And we planned and delivered our annual Professional Development Institute, which brought together all our members for intense, peer supported training and education.

Finally, in an effort to bring a more coherent and understandable face of justice to the public, we embarked on a project to develop common rules. While specific tribunal procedures will require specific rules, common terminology and approach will help the public better understand and access the services we provide. Early in 2013 we launched a consultation on an initial set of common rules, which include rules governing basic adjudicative values, and the ability of parties to designate a litigation guardian. In the coming months we will develop and circulate additional rules.

External Service Delivery

With a focus on enhancing service delivery we have been successful over the past year in increasing the use of virtual hearings to permit people in remote areas greater and more timely access to justice in a more effective and efficient manner. Also, we are piloting a range of mediation models and boosting access to mediation at several tribunals within the cluster. In order to enhance transparency and access to information, we are now posting decisions of the Social Benefits Tribunal on publically accessible websites. Similarly, we have a project underway to increase access to Landlord and Tenant Board decisions.

To help us measure our work we developed a number of service standards. We will soon be providing results to the public on an annual basis that report on how well we are doing in meeting these standards. Overall, the numbers are fairly positive but they have also identified areas where we need to improve and we will put in place plans to close any gaps in service that may be identified.

Switching from an internal to an external lens, in November 2012 the "Pinto Report" on the review of Ontario's human rights system reforms was released. Mr. Pinto was generally positive about the new system which he found to be more effective, expeditious and accessible. He gave the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) high marks in a number of areas. At the same time, the report contains a number of recommendations specific to the HRTO and we are currently working on initiatives to respond to many of these recommendations.

A Year of Change

The past year also saw a number of changes in the leadership of the cluster. With regrets, we said goodbye to Céline Allard, Associate Chair of the Ontario Special Education (French) Tribunal and to Gary Yee, Associate Chair of the Social Benefits Tribunal. I am grateful to David Wright for agreeing to take on the ViceChair role at both of the Special Education Tribunals and to Beverly Moore for agreeing to act as the interim Associate Chair of the Social Benefits Tribunal. Along with Suzanne Gilbert and Lilian Ma, I am fortunate to have such dedicated and capable colleagues, leading and transforming, our constituent tribunals. We also welcomed Ellen Wexler as the new Executive Lead of SJTO and her wealth of experience has been instrumental in driving the internal transformation and tribunal modernization priorities.

We've travelled a long way in the two years since the cluster was first announced and while there is more to be done, we embrace the work and the challenges that lie ahead. A wealth of experience exists within the SJTO tribunals and my thanks go out to all of the adjudicative members and the staff of SJTO for their hard work and dedication. The real strength of our justice organization rests with them.

Executive Lead's Message

Ellen Wexler, Executive Lead
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

Bringing together seven adjudicative tribunals into a single organization presents many opportunities to improve effectiveness and efficiency, but it also has its share of challenges. It requires a long term strategic vision to guide the many short term operational decisions required to ensure a successful transition. This was my first year at SJTO and I have been very impressed by the dedication and commitment from the members, staff and stakeholders. I took the opportunity to visit all of the offices across the province and to meet with many of the stakeholders.

SJTO is undertaking strategic internal reforms to ensure our organization is structured and our business processes are aligned to support the vision of transformation leading to an effective and efficient organizational structure that meets the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and quality of work.

Last year, as an interim step in our longer term goal to collocate a number of our Toronto locations, the Child and Family Service Review Board/Custody Review Board moved locations to share accommodations and hearing rooms with the Social Benefits Tribunal. Provisions were made to ensure that service to the parties appearing before the boards were not impacted by the move. This move allows the tribunals to work more closely together, share resources and develop a collaborative environment.

As part of tribunal modernization, the Landlord and Tenant Board is in the initial phases of working on an e-filing option that will offer secure and simple filing and will allow individuals to file applications online quickly, at any time and from anywhere. The e-filing system will help ensure accurate filings by including prompts, such as explaining fields and noting missed information, to guide the user in filling out the form.

One of SJTO's core values is a commitment to access to justice, diversity and inclusion, and as part of its efforts in this area, we have formed a Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee to develop a multi-year approach to implement the diversity, inclusion and accessibility commitments of SJTO. The plan is intended to help SJTO create respectful and inclusive work environments and embed diversity and inclusion practices and principles into its policies, processes and services. It will ensure that SJTO continues to:

SJTO tribunals also provide services to the public in both official languages in accordance with the French Language Services Act (FLSA). Regional offices in areas designated by the FLSA have bilingual staff available. We are also developing a FLSA plan that will assist us in providing consistent and improved French language services.

SJTO has been working on a plan for the next phase of its transformation. We are one step closer to our goal of an integrated organization with a plan, as mentioned earlier, to co-locate some of the Toronto offices as well as a new management structure.

I would like to extend a special thank you to all of the staff at SJTO and to let you know how proud I am of the great work they do year round. SJTO couldn't carry out its day-to-day activities and make the strides it does without everyone's help.

Legislative Authority

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) is established under the authority of the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009 (the Tribunals Act.) The creation of SJTO is part of the government's ongoing efforts to ensure adjudicative tribunals best serve the public by being accountable, transparent and efficient in their operations, and independent in their decision making functions.

Section 15 of the Tribunals Act states that the government may designate a cluster when "the matters that the tribunals deal with are such that they can operate more effectively and efficiently as part of a cluster than alone."


sjto.ca


CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES REVIEW BOARD/CUSTODY REVIEW BOARD

Associate Chair's Message

Suzanne Gilbert, Associate Chair
Child and Family Services Review Board/Custody Review Board

It is with great pleasure that I share with you the highlights for the fiscal year 2012- 2013 for the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB) and Custody Review Board (CRB).

There were a number of interesting decisions this year on the subject matter of contempt in J.C. v. Durham Children's Aid Society, 2012 CFSRB 26, the jurisdiction of the Board in V.T. and D.T. v. Children's Aid Society of London and Middlesex, 2012 CFSRB 50 and rescinding the refusal of an adoption application in J.P. and M.P. v. Children's Aid Society of Algoma (CFSA s.144), 2013 CFSRB 5.

The quality of adjudication remained our main focus throughout the year. Some changes were made to the decision review process and to the framework of decision writing. We began an initiative for streamlining the hearing process for the service related complaint applications involving children's aid societies. These changes will be in line with the SJTO's values of active adjudication and proportionality. Some work will follow to adapt processes and Rules during the next fiscal year in light of pending regulation changes.

The settlement facilitation program has been very useful to the parties involved in complaints regarding services provided by children's aid societies. Settlement agreements were reached in 75 per cent of the files scheduled for settlement facilitation. The Board has also expanded the use of mediation.

A meeting was held this year with stakeholders involved in the emergency secure admission treatment of children. This first meeting was an opportunity to exchange ideas and open the doors to a shared dialogue aimed at ensuring fair and timely access to justice.

The coming year will bring many challenges. I am confident that staff and members will continue to support our work with their unwavering dedication and professionalism and I thank them for their collaboration and commitment to their work.

Legislative Authority

The Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB)

Under the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA), the CFSRB is mandated to review:

Under the Education Act, the Board hears appeals of:

Under the Intercountry Adoption Act, the Board reviews:

Custody Review Board (CRB)

Under section 97(1) of the Child and Family Services Act, the CRB hears applications and makes recommendations to provincial directors who make decisions with respect to youth in custody regarding:

Operational Highlights

The Board* was actively involved again this year in the transformation agenda of the SJTO. The Board's office moved locations to share accommodations and hearing rooms with the Social Benefits Tribunal. The transition took a few months but staff, members and operations settled in by the end of the fiscal year. Provisions were made to ensure that service to parties appearing before the Board was not impacted by the move.

Statistics/Commentary

In the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the CFSRB received 300 applications: the same as last fiscal year and the CRB received 144 applications for a total of 444 applications. There is a slight decrease from the previous year as a result of fewer CRB applications. The following chart provides a summary of the caseloads for the last three fiscal years:

* The Child and Family Services Review Board and Custody Review Board are referred to collectively and individually as the Board

Section 61 of the CFSA – Removal of a Crown Ward


Section 68 of the CFSA – Complaints against a Children's Aid Society


There is a slight increase in the number of applications and decisions issued. The Board observed an increase in the number of applicants who had made an application in the previous years and who have applied again on new issues.

Settlement Facilitation for Section 68 application


The settlement facilitation program continued to be a success resulting in a high level of settlements.

Section 144 of the CFSA – Refusal of Application to Adopt or Refusal to Approve a Proposed Adoption Placement


Section 311.7 of the Education Act - School Board Expulsion Appeals


The Board supported the parties through mediation to resolve some of the appeals received this year; others were settled by the parties.

Section 36 of the CFSA – Application for Residential Review Placement


The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth has continued supporting children in their efforts to request a review of their placement to the Board.

The Board continued to use a comprehensive framework for reviewing residential placements under section 36 of the Act. The Board incorporated in its analysis the relevant factors from the best interests test as described in the CFSA and from the factors that a Residential Placement Advisory Committee must consider when it reviews a child's placement.

Section 124 of the CFSA – Review of Emergency Secure Treatment Admission (ESTA)

Section 5 & 6 of the Intercountry Adoption Act - Intercountry Adoption Applications (Refusal to Adopt Outside of Canada)

Custody Review Board Applications


The Board continued to deal primarily with cases involving young persons wanting a recommendation that they be moved closer to home. Reasons for moving away from the home community included bed shortages and restructuring of facilities.


sjto.ca/cfsrb   sjto.ca/crb


HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL OF ONTARIO

Associate Chair's Message

David A. Wright, Associate Chair
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

I am pleased to present the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) section of the SJTO annual report. This has been a significant year, with improvements in the management of our caseload and important jurisprudential developments.

The HRTO continued to establish jurisprudence that provides guidance to Ontarians on the rights in the Code. Significant decisions this year addressed the emerging issues of family status in the workplace (Devaney v. ZRV Holdings Limited, 2012 HRTO 1590), the rights of transgendered persons (XY v. Ontario Government and Consumer Services), 2012 HRTO 726 and Vanderputten v. Seydaco Packaging Inc., 2012 HRTO 2165), and competing human rights (Taylor-Baptiste v. Ontario Public Services Employees Union, 2012 HRTO 1393 and 2013 HRTO 180). We addressed when applications are considered to be filed beyond the one-year time limit in the Code (Garrie v. Janus Joan Inc., 2012 HRTO 995 and Ward-Taylor v. Instachange Displays Limited, 2012 HRTO 1282), breaches of confidentiality provisions in settlements (Tremblay v. 1168531 Ontario Inc., 2012 HRTO 1939) and interim remedies where elementary school students were not attending school (R.B. v. Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, 2013 HRTO 130 and T.B. v. Halton District School Board, 2013 HRTO 304).

The summary hearing process established in 2010 continued to be an important part of the HRTO's work. Summary hearings resulted in the dismissal of many cases that had no reasonable prospect of success. Even where it was determined that the matter should go on to a full hearing, the issues were often narrowed, resulting in more efficient hearings.

We were pleased to welcome three new vice-chairs and eight members this year. They bring an exceptional level of adjudicative and human rights expertise from a variety of backgrounds.

I want to thank the members of the public, the human rights community and our Practice Advisory Committee for their ongoing support and feedback. We continue to strive for improvement in the dispute resolution we provide, and your communication assists us greatly.

I want to close by thanking our staff and adjudicators for their hard work throughout this period, which has meant that we have continued to reduce caseload and timelines despite the heavy demands of increased hearings. We expect to see the statistical results of our intensive work even more in the next fiscal year, as timelines for new cases become shorter.

Legislative Authority

The HRTO is established under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Since June 2008, all claims of discrimination under the Code are dealt with through applications filed directly with the HRTO. The HRTO's primary role is to provide an expeditious and accessible process for resolving those applications through voluntary mediation or, where the dispute is not resolved through mediation, a hearing and an enforceable decision.

Operational Highlights

The highlight of this fiscal year was an ongoing "blitz" of merits hearings. Following changes to the HRTO's processes in mid-2010, it has reduced its active caseload by over one quarter since early 2011, first through an intensive focus on mediation, and then an emphasis on merits hearings while maintaining timely mediations.

Statistics and Commentary

Caseload

The HRTO continued to reduce its active caseload in 2012-2013. There were 3,302 open s.34 cases at the start of the fiscal year. By year-end, that number had been reduced to 3,061, with 416 of these cases deferred pending the outcome of some other proceeding outside the HRTO. The number of open cases is now less than the number of files closed in each of the previous two fiscal years. The following statistics refer only to "New Applications" made under section 34 of the Code, not Transitional Applications or Commission Referred Complaints.


Of the cases closed in fiscal 2012-2013 where the application was accepted, 1,251 (54%) were closed within one year. The average time from application acceptance to closure was 406 days, with a median of 329 days. However, a large number of files – 803 – were closed that did not reach the application acceptance stage because they were resolved on some preliminary basis, including the new Summary Hearing process. The HRTO currently does not have timeline measures for these 803 closures, but many of them were resolved within one year.

A geographical breakdown of applications based on the applicant's postal code shows:


The following chart shows the percentage of applications based on each of the five social areas covered by the Code. Note that while most applications only allege discrimination in respect of one social area, some are based on more than one, so the total exceeds 100 per cent by a small amount.


The following chart shows the percentage of applications in which each prohibited ground under the Code is raised. Because many applications claim discrimination based on more than one ground, the totals in the chart far exceed 100 per cent.


*Bill 33, An Act to amend the Human Rights Code with respect to gender identity and gender expression, came into force on June 19, 2012, adding these two grounds. The HRTO application form was amended to reflect these new grounds in late June 2012.

Mediation

The following chart reports on the mediations held this fiscal year. Because the HRTO adjusted its approach to mediation statistics in the last quarter of fiscal 2010-2011, only the last quarter of 2010-2011 is included.


Hearings and Decisions


The HRTO also issued 1,862 Case Assessment Directions dealing with various procedural issues.

Transitional Applications and Commission Referred Complaints

June 2008 amendments to the Code established the new human rights system and included a mechanism for dealing with complaints still pending at the Ontario Human Rights Commission. For a period of one year, the complainant could bring the complaint to the HRTO by filing an application under section 53 of the Code. The HRTO received almost 2,000 such applications. As well, the Commission continued to refer complaints to the HRTO until December 31, 2008.

Most all of the Transition Applications and Commission Referred Complaints have been resolved. At the end of fiscal 2012-2013, the open caseload was:

Transitional Applications:

52 open cases, although many are related. Of these:

Commission Referred Complaints:

Four open cases:


sjto.ca/hrto


LANDLORD AND TENANT BOARD

Associate Chair's Message

Lilian Ma, Associate Chair   Alternate Executive Chair
Landlord and Tenant Board   Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

Last year, the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) made great strides on a number of initiatives to help us achieve our mission to provide fair, effective, timely and accessible dispute resolution for the residential rental housing sector in Ontario.

In November 2011, as a result of client feedback, the Board implemented a new scheduling model for those application types that make up the majority of the applications submitted. This initiative has proven to be successful in increasing the predictability of our scheduling and reducing time to hearing for both landlord and tenant applications.

We appreciate the input of stakeholders who participated in our first online consultation this past fiscal year about proposed changes to the rules of practice, L1/L9 hearing day update form and request for consent form. This online consultation enabled us to reach broader and different audiences offering us the ability to improve access to justice.

As part of its overall efficiencies exercise, LTB is also streamlining the processing of the L5 application for above the guideline rent increases and the A4 application to vary the rent reduction.

E-filing is an exciting initiative for the Landlord and Tenant Board. Although it is in the initial phases, this system will offer secure and simple filing and will allow individuals to file applications online quickly, at any time and from anywhere. I appreciate the ongoing commitment of members and staff in delivering the Board's important services and to tenants and landlords and for their valuable input into the Board's initiatives.

Legislative Authority

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) draws its legislative authority from the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the RTA or the Act), which sets out, in section 1, the following purposes for the Board:

Resolving disputes

Adjudication

Subsection 168(2) of the RTA provides that the Board has exclusive jurisdiction to determine all applications under the Act, while section 174 provides the Board with the authority to hear and determine all questions of law and fact with respect to all matters within its jurisdiction under the Act.

Pursuant to section 183 of the Act, the Board strives to provide the most expeditious method of determining the questions that arise in a proceeding and to provide parties an adequate opportunity to know the issues and to be heard on the matter.

Hearings are held at the LTB's eight regional offices as well as at a number of other locations across the province.

Mediation

Section 194 of the Act allows the Board to mediate disputes, if both parties agree to try this approach. Board Mediators are available to meet with parties to try to help them reach a workable agreement that is acceptable to both sides.

Providing Information

Section 177 of the RTA requires the LTB to give information to landlords and tenants about their rights and obligations. The LTB fulfills this mandate by providing counter-service in its offices across the province, and through a website and a virtual call centre. LTB received 502,321 telephone calls in 2012-2013.

Amendments to the RTA

Effective January 1, 2012, the RTA was amended by Bill 140 as part of the Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy of the Ministry of Housing. Bill 140 includes an amendment to the RTA that will require the Board to serve the notice of hearing and application to the respondent unless the Board, as set out in its Rules, orders the applicant to do so. A proclamation date for this provision has yet to be announced. The LTB is preparing to implement the changes required by this amendment and will consult with its stakeholders.

Operational Highlights

Orientation to LTB for cross-appointees and new appointees

The LTB welcomed a number of cross-appointments from other SJTO tribunals as well as new LTB members. They were provided with training on the RTA to prepare them for LTB hearings.

Stakeholder engagement

During this fiscal year, the LTB met with the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), which consists of representatives from the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), the Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) and the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA). The on-going dialogue between the Board and stakeholder representatives ensures that the views of both landlord and tenant groups are given the necessary attention in the development of procedures, forms, Rules of Practice and Interpretation Guidelines. The SAC meetings are also an important forum for providing progress updates on LTB initiatives as well as responding to the concerns from landlord and tenant groups.

Statistics/ Commentary

From April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, the LTB received 82,192 applications. This is an increase of 1,108 applications compared to the 2011-2012 caseload. Over the last three years, there has been an increase of more than six per cent in applications filed with the Board.

The ratio of landlord to tenant applications has remained relatively constant since 1998 when the resolution of landlord-tenant disputes was transferred from the provincial court system to an adjudicative tribunal. This past year was no exception, with 91 per cent of applications filed by landlords and nine per cent filed by tenants.

Applications for termination of tenancy and eviction continue to represent the bulk of the LTB's workload. Of the total applications received by the LTB, 66.65 per cent were for termination of tenancy because of arrears of rent.

Landlord Applications

The following table shows the number of each application type filed by landlords for the 2012-2013 fiscal year and the two previous years. The number in brackets shows the percentage of the total applications filed by landlords.

Landlord Applications by Type

L1 applications were scheduled, on average, within 20.7 business days of the date the applications were filed, and the order issued, on average, within 3.4 business days of the final hearing.

Tenant Applications

The following table shows the number of each application type filed by tenants for the 2012-2013 fiscal year and the two previous years. The number in brackets shows the percentage of the total applications filed by tenants.

Tenant Applications By Type

Tenant applications were heard, on average, within 20.2 business days of their filing date, and the order issued, on average, within eight business days of the final hearing.

Application Resolution

For the fiscal year 2012-2013, the LTB received 82,192 applications and resolved 80,261 applications. Some applications may generate more than one resolution because of the re-opening and review processes. As of March 31, 2012 the number of unresolved RTA applications is 9,580.

The following table shows the total number of applications received, resolved and outstanding at the end of the fiscal year, for 2012-2013 and the two previous years.

Application Receipts and Resolutions*

*For fiscal 2012-2013 the LTB statistics are those reported by its case management system. For previous years, the LTB calculated these statistics manually.

The following chart shows how applications and resolution are relatively constant across regions and also illustrates the regional distribution of applications filed with the board.

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Review and Appeal Statistics

A party to an application may ask for a review of a Board order if he or she believes that the order contains a serious error or that a serious error occurred in the proceedings, including where a party was not reasonably able to participate in the proceeding.

Over the 2012-2013 fiscal year the LTB received 2,162 requests for review, 2.6 per cent of the total number of applications received. Of the review requests received, 1,337 (1.6 per cent) were sent to hearing.

Section 210 of the RTA also provides that any person affected by a LTB order may appeal the order to the Divisional Court within 30 days after being given the order, but only on a question of law. Over the 2012-2013 fiscal year the LTB received 151 Notices of Appeal of Board orders. This number represents 0.2 per cent of the total number of applications resolved by the LTB.

Mediation

The Landlord and Tenant Board employs mediators throughout the province to provide mediation services where both parties involved in an application are interested in working together to resolve the issues in dispute. In the 2012-2013 fiscal year approximately 37 per cent of all applications where both parties attended the hearing were successfully resolved through mediated agreements and/or resulted in consent orders.
sjto.ca/ltb


ONTARIO SPECIAL EDUCATION TRIBUNALS

Vice-Chair's Message

David A. Wright, Vice-Chair
Ontario Special Education (English) and (French) Tribunals

I am pleased to present the OSET (English and French) section of the SJTO annual report.

This has been a year of significant change at the OSETs. The operations of both special education tribunals were brought within the administrative structure of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). The Registrar of the HRTO, is now OSET Secretary. In addition to my responsibilities as Associate Chair of HRTO, I have now been appointed Vice-Chair and lead of the OSETs by the SJTO Executive Chair.

I am excited about the advantages for parents and school boards that the ties with HRTO and other SJTO tribunals provide. Applications regarding the provision of special education arise frequently at HRTO, and we are building a dedicated group of adjudicators with expertise in the resolution of these cases, and others involving children, across the tribunals. These changes will enhance the ability of our stakeholders to have their disputes involving special education services resolved in a manner tailored to the nature of the dispute, by adjudicators with expertise in the substance of special education and dispute resolution in this context.

The Ontario Special Education (French) Tribunal is an important institution for franco-Ontarians and Ontario's French-language education system. We are committed to ensuring the highest quality of French-language services for individuals for francophone stakeholders when they bring a dispute about special education before the Tribunal.

I am proud of the strong foundation that previous chairs, vice-chairs and members of the OSETs have established for mediating and adjudicating special education disputes. I look forward to hearing feedback from those who use our services as we now work to continue to improve our services with the resources and expertise available in SJTO.

Legislative Authority

The legislative mandate of the OSETs is found in section 57 of the Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E. 2. Their primary role is to adjudicate appeals initiated by parents regarding identification and/or placement decisions made by school boards with respect to students with special needs (exceptional pupils), and to make decisions that are in the best interest of these pupils.

The Ontario Special Education (English) Tribunal hears appeals for students enrolled in the 60 English-language school boards, both public and Roman Catholic. Le Tribunal de l'enfance en difficulté de l'Ontario (français) hears appeals for students enrolled in 12 French-language school boards, both public and Roman Catholic.

OSET is an appeal tribunal. OSET appellants must first have satisfied the prerequisites set out in the Education Act and its Regulations, before they are legally entitled to appeal.

Operational Highlights

Adjudication

The current fiscal year opened with one case on the register of the English Tribunal, and two additional appeals were initiated during the year. Of these, one appeal was withdrawn following mediation, one appeal was closed by a Supplementary Decision. At fiscal year-end, OSET had one open case.

There were no appeals filed, and no open cases, with the French Tribunal.

Statistics/Commentary

*Open cases include cases awaiting a hearing and cases where a decision has been issued, but the Tribunal remained seized of the case.


sjto.ca/oset


SOCIAL BENEFITS TRIBUNAL

Associate Chair's Message

Beverly Moore, Interim Associate Chair
Social Benefits Tribunal

The past year at the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) has been one of change and opportunity. The former Associate Chair Gary Yee left in August of 2012. The tribunal has continued the good work that he began in improving scheduling, consistency and accountability.

In late 2012, the SBT began to have its decisions available on the website of the Canadian Legal Information Institute – www.canlii.org. The accessibility of a tribunal's decisions is an essential element in public accountability and consistency of the tribunal. As well as the public posting of decisions, SBT implemented a new electronic decision system that has improved the time from hearing to a decision being released. These significant improvements garnered recognition for innovation through the Excelsior Award program, an awards program within the Ministry of the Attorney General.

SBT faced a significant increase in appeals in late 2011. Due to the increase in appeals, the wait time to hearings increased. The tribunal took a number of steps to manage this increase. Some of the initiatives include increasing the number of hearings, early resolution sessions for appropriate appeals and recruitment for additional adjudicators. The tribunal continues to take the steps necessary for active adjudication to ensure the timeliness and efficiency of hearings, while still ensuring accessibility and natural justice.

Our strong working relationships with stakeholders has resulted in constructive discussions on how we can all improve in ensuring fair and timely processes with the resources available. We appreciate the contributions and feedback of our stakeholders.

The benefit of being within SJTO has been demonstrated by the crossappointment of adjudicators, increasing our hearing capacity and building our expertise in subject areas such as the Human Rights Code.

I take great pride in the work of SBT's members and staff, who ensure that we provide fair and accessible dispute resolution. Thanks to their joint commitment and dedication, SBT is meeting the workload challenges. We look forward to the opportunities to build on our success in the coming fiscal year.

Legislative Authority

The SBT was established in 1998 under Part IV of the Ontario Works Act, 1997. Appeals are heard under that act and the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997. The SBT considers appeals by individuals who have been refused social assistance and recipients of social assistance who disagree with a decision that affects the amount of or their eligibility for social assistance.

The SBT conducts hearings throughout Ontario. Because of the sensitive personal information involved in these cases, the legislation requires that all hearings must be held in private.

Operational Highlights

Caseload

In the first nine months of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the SBT experienced a 33 per cent increase in appeals compared to the same period in the previous year. The increase in appeals eventually levelled off as the year progressed. By the end of the fiscal year 2012-2013, the SBT received 15,430 appeals – an increase of approximately 15 per cent (1,995 appeals) compared to the previous fiscal year.

Early Resolution Program

The Early Resolution Program (ERP) continues to grow as a valuable component of our overall case management program. In the last fiscal year, SBT conducted over 1,080 Early Resolution Sessions. This was more than triple the number of Early Resolution Sessions conducted the previous year. With the increase in appeals this year, the ERP continues to become a valuable and effective mechanism for achieving a fair and efficient resolution without the need for a hearing to be scheduled.

The ERP process usually involves a telephone call between the two parties and the Tribunal's Appeal Resolution Officer (ARO), who acts as a facilitator to discuss possible ways to resolve the appeal without the need for a full hearing. The Tribunal has a Practice Direction for the ERP, as well as a Practice Tips document, which are publicly available on our website.

Communication and Stakeholder Engagement

The SBT continued its commitment to communicate effectively with its stakeholders, which is an essential component of ensuring accountability and transparency. During this fiscal year, the SBT held two meetings of its Consultative Committee and in March of 2013 we conducted our first videoconference demonstration for our stakeholders. Participants were able to see the technology in action, ask questions, and take part in a mock hearing done in real time between Timmins and Toronto. Using feedback from the stakeholders, SBT created a videoconferencing tip sheet for all participants.

Statistics/Commentary

The SBT completed 13,325 appeals, which was an increase of over 500 from the previous year, but the SBT's pending inventory still increased by over 2,100 cases, due to the significant increase in appeals. The overall average case processing time decreased from 9.2 months to 8.7 months.

Table 1 - Summary


Table 2 - Appeals Completed With or Without a Hearing


* Completed without a hearing includes the following: appeal resolved before a hearing due to respondent's consent or appellant's withdrawal (e.g. – after early resolution process), reconsideration request not granted, no contact from appellant, no jurisdiction, other administrative reasons.
** Completed with a hearing includes decisions released following a reconsideration hearing.
*** The total includes three decisions from the former Social Assistance Review Board.

Table 3 - Appeals by Program


Table 4 - ODSP Appeals by Category


Table 5 - OW Appeals by Category


Table 6 - Tribunal Decisions by Outcome



* Cases denied in absentia – appellant was not present for the hearing.
** Other decisions include the following: consent order, no appeal before the tribunal, appeal out of time, no jurisdiction, matter resolved or withdrawn, or cases referred back to the Director or Administrator to reconsider the original decision in accordance with the directions given by the tribunal.


sjto.ca/sbt


SJTO MEMBERS*

(As of March 31, 2013)

SJTO Executive Chair and Alternates


The Executive Chair and the Alternate Chair are members of each of the adjudicative tribunals that are included in the cluster.

* In this and following sections, indicates member is cross-appointed to other tribunals

Child and Family Services Review Board/Custody Review Board


Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario


Landlord and Tenant Board

Ontario Special Education Tribunals

English Tribunal Members

French Tribunal Members


Social Benefits Tribunal


SJTO FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Data for fiscal year 2012-2013:
IFIS Year-End Report or Draft Public Accounts

The table below shows the expenditures and revenues of the SJTO for 2012-13.

*These are fees collected from the Landlord and Tenant Board for filing applications. They are deposited in the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
**2011-12 was the first year for SJTO and the cluster.


sjto.ca