Social Justice Tribunals Ontario
2013-14 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

Message from Michael Gottheil, Executive Chair
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

I am proud of the accomplishments of SJTO, and its role in the administration of justice in Ontario. We provide fair, accessible dispute resolution to thousands of Ontarians each year. In 2013-14 alone, our tribunals received and resolved more than 100,000 cases. Over the past year we also focused on boosting capacity and expertise, looking for ways to work more efficiently, and collaborating with our justice sector partners.

Because of the breadth of our jurisdiction and the nature of the disputes we deal with, our users are extremely varied. We resolve disputes between landlords and tenants, hear appeals from people seeking social assistance and complaints from those who feel the service they received from children's aid societies has been unfair. We deal with applications about human rights and the rights of children and families relating to education. These are important issues that touch the lives of families and individuals in fundamental ways. The public and the parties who appear before the SJTO tribunals have a right to fair, impartial and expert dispute resolution, and that is our primary commitment.

A high percentage of our users are people with disabilities, individuals who face literacy, language and communication barriers, and persons who experience social and economic disadvantage. Overwhelmingly, the parties who appear before the SJTO tribunals are self-represented. This means our processes, procedures and the way we resolve disputes must be sensitive to the needs of the people who seek our services.

We continue to work on ways to improve access to information and to our services. In 2014-15 we will launch a new website. The site will provide users with information that is easy to find and easy to understand. People who use screen readers will also find the new site easier to navigate. Also, following recommendations made by Andrew Pinto in his Report of the Human Rights Review 2012, we have modified the information and forms of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to make them easier to use.

Looking ahead, we will be introducing e-filing at the Landlord and Tenant Board. Efiling will allow users to file anytime from anywhere and provide guided steps for both landlords and tenants. Also at the Landlord and Tenant Board, we are beginning to develop an online wizard which will help users find answers they need more easily. Referrals to existing legal and community resources are being built into the tool.

SJTO has also developed a policy which lays out how we will provide accommodation for persons with disabilities. One of our commitments is to publish information on the accessibility features at each SJTO hearing location so that people can research what is available ahead of their hearing. The policy also establishes accommodation co-ordinators for each tribunal - staff who have training in accommodation, and can be a single, knowledgeable point of contact for users who require accommodation. Watch for that information to appear on our website later in 2014-15.

To uphold the highest standards of integrity and quality of adjudication, we continue to develop our professional development program. Our annual educational event, called "The Institute" was last held in May 2013 and covered topics like evidence, decision writing, early resolution, mediation and communication in the hearing room. The Institute is also an opportunity for SJTO members and mediators to share their skills, experiences, and perspectives, and to enrich their expertise. In 2014, our professional development unit also created and delivered a training module on human rights to all tribunals.

As I mentioned, the SJTO is a part of the justice system in Ontario, and we have a responsibility to respond to the challenges the sector faces. This past year saw the release of a number of important reports on Access to Justice, including the National Action Committee Report on Access to Civil and Family Justice and the Canadian Bar Association's report: Reaching Equal Justice. Both reports highlight the challenges we face in access to justice, and provide recommendations.

At SJTO, we have been working with justice sector partners to meet these challenges. For example, we have begun to work on a project with legal clinics and the Ministry of Community and Social Services to streamline the process for social assistance appeals. Also at the Social Benefits Tribunal, we are discussing ways to facilitate limited retainers and unbundled legal services. This allows legal clinics to serve more people and make more strategic decisions about how to allocate limited resources.

At the Landlord and Tenant Board, we are working with social housing providers to develop approaches to dispute resolution which better fit the needs of social housing landlords and their tenants by enhancing access to mediation and including community support workers in the mediation and resolution process. At the Child and Family Services Review Board, we are borrowing from the aboriginal community to introduce restorative justice techniques. This approach has obvious benefit for our aboriginal users, but has been received with excitement and promise from non-aboriginal users, as the nature of family disputes and disputes with children's aid societies lend themselves to more collaborative and restorative approaches.

While these initiatives are exciting, we know that ultimately, their success depends upon whether they are truly effective and responsive to user needs. As a result, we have launched a project to develop an evaluation framework which will help us assess our organizational strength against common justice sector benchmarks and also seek feedback from our users. Lilian Ma, Landlord and Tenant Board Associate Chair, has been assigned to this important project, and we expect an evaluation framework later this year.

Finally, I have a few announcements about the SJTO team. First, I am very pleased to announce that Yola Grant joined SJTO as the Associate Chair for the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on April 16, 2014. Yola was a labour, employment and human rights lawyer with Grant & Bernhardt and held a number of policy and legal positions in the public sector including counsel at the Pay Equity and Employment Equity tribunals, and the predecessor to the HRTO, the Board of Inquiry. I have to thank Naomi Overend who did an outstanding job acting as Associate Chair of the tribunal during the recruitment period.

I also want to warmly thank Kim Bugby, who has taken on the role of Coordinating Vice Chair of the Landlord and Tenant Board, while the board's Associate Chair, Lillian Ma, leads our evaluation framework project.

Finally, I want to thank all the adjudicators on each of our tribunals for their professionalism and dedication to fair, accessible dispute resolution. I am proud to work with all of you.

Michael Gottheil’s signature

Michael Gottheil, Executive Chair
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario


Message from Ellen Wexler, Executive Lead
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

I am proud to submit this annual report. It reminds me of how much we have accomplished at SJTO this year and I'm excited about what's in store in the year ahead. Service excellence is a priority for Social Justice Tribunals Ontario. To that end, on April 1, 2012, we introduced service standards which tell people how long they can expect it will take for their hearing or mediation to be scheduled and heard in each of SJTO's seven tribunals. The standards keep us focused on providing our clients with fair, effective, timely dispute resolution, even as we adapt to legislative change and adopt new technologies. This year, we reported on how we are doing in meeting those standards. In most instances we met or exceeded the standards but in some cases, we fell short. Having standards in place means that we know when and where we need to improve so we can start finding solutions. You can review the service standards results under each of the tribunal headings in this report and on our website.

We are committed to the active offer of French language services for Francophones across Ontario. SJTO's new policy on French language services means that clients seeking services in French know what they can expect from any SJTO tribunal. The policy promises that our frontline services and documents like publications, forms, notices and rules will be available in French. We also commit to providing bilingual adjudicators and mediators on request, or, in cases where one is not available, an interpreter.

Accessibility, diversity and inclusion are core values of SJTO. This year we demonstrated our commitment through a number of initiatives that are outlined in the report, including new policies, improved information and training. Another priority for the SJTO is co-location. In June of 2013, we announced that we would be moving our downtown Toronto offices to 25 Grosvenor St. in Toronto. The relocation will begin in early 2016 and I look forward to having our tribunals under one roof. It will allow us to truly realize the benefits of clustering by sharing knowledge, expertise, space and equipment.

On the human resources front, we replaced three directors of case management with an SJTO Director of Operations, who ensures a coordinated approach to operations across the cluster. Each tribunal also has a registrar and front line managers, who provide leadership on case-management, administration and dayto-day operations.

There are a lot of innovative things going on in SJTO tribunals. To improve service delivery and reduce costs, tribunals shared hearing space and used video technology for more mediations and hearings. We have put a renewed focus on alternative dispute resolution methods including mediation. You'll find more about these initiatives in the operational highlights section of each tribunal.

I would like to extend a special thank you to all of the staff and members at SJTO. Every year, we resolve over 100,000 disputes. The professionals across our organization - in administration, customer service, mediation, finance, HR, IT, and adjudication - are the primary reason for our success.

Ellen Wexler’s signature

Ellen Wexler, Executive Lead
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario


Legislative Authority: SJTO

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) is established under the authority of the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009 (ATAGAA). 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 ATAGAA 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."

Operational Highlights: SJTO

2013-2014 was the second year of SJTO's three-year operational plan. This year, the senior leadership team reviewed and updated the plan to ensure that SJTO remains on track to deliver high-quality dispute resolution to Ontarians.

The plan identifies four strategic priorities to guide SJTO's work: dispute resolution, external service delivery, tribunal modernization and internal transformation.

Dispute Resolution

Cross-appointments: One of the benefits of clustering is the ability to cross-appoint members to more than one of the cluster's tribunals. While each tribunal deals with cases under specific legislation, there are overlaps in the subject areas, the nature of the disputes and the parties who appear before SJTO tribunals. Cross appointments enhance members' skills and knowledge which builds adjudicative capacity and expertise across the cluster. They also give the tribunals more flexibility in scheduling hearings, making dispute resolution more timely and accessible. The SJTO now has 20 cross-appointed members.

While there are many benefits to cross-appointments, ensuring and enhancing expertise remain priorities. Thus all cross appointed members are required to meet the competencies set for each tribunal to which they are appointed.

Recruitment: The process for recruitment of adjudicators under ATAGAA, supports SJTO's ability to attract individuals with superior knowledge, skills and expertise. Each vacancy is filled through an open, competitive, merit-based process, in which candidates are screened and interviewed by an SJTO panel, after which candidates are recommended to the Attorney General.

Mediation and dispute resolution: SJTO has also been building the capacity of mediation and early dispute resolution programs, in part by training members and staff mediators through SJTO's annual Professional Development Institute and other professional development components.

Professional development: SJTO held its third annual Professional Development Institute event, bringing together all members, staff mediators and senior managers for intensive education and training on topics such as decision writing, mediation, evidentiary issues, communication in the hearing room, and accommodating participants who have mental health challenges.

Common Rules of Procedure: Developed after extensive stakeholder consultation, SJTO's Common Rules of Procedure took effect on October 1, 2013. The Common Rules apply to all SJTO tribunals and provide a consistent framework in areas such as timeliness and accessibility, as well as providing authority to appoint litigation guardians and control abuse of process.

External Service Delivery

Hearing rooms: To improve service delivery and reduce costs, tribunals shared hearing space and used video technology during more mediations and hearings. Performance standards: Service excellence is a priority for SJTO. For the second year, SJTO measured its performance against service standards and published the results on the SJTO website.

Overall, the numbers are fairly positive and we are moving in the right direction. SJTO is serious about meeting these standards and if they are not being met, we examine why. Action plans to help meet these standards include increasing the number of hearings, the use of early resolution sessions and streamlining business processes. These initiatives are helping us achieve our targets.

French language services: SJTO's new policy on French language services establishes a consistent standard for tribunals across the cluster so that clients seeking services in French know what they can expect to receive. The policy will be implemented in summer 2014.

Web communications: SJTO is creating a new website. The new site will replace the individual tribunal sites, giving the public access to all SJTO and tribunal information and services in one location. The site is expected to launch in winter 2015.

Consultations: SJTO consults with stakeholders and the public on process, procedure, service and accessibility. When new or amended rules or policies are proposed, SJTO has committed to posting the revisions on the SJTO website for a minimum of two weeks.

Tribunal Modernization

Evaluation: SJTO began developing an evaluation framework. The framework will help us assess our performance and develop evidence-based plans to address gaps and respond to the evolving needs of the communities we serve.

Internal Transformation

Management structure: SJTO introduced a new management structure to support more effective and efficient business processes. A Director of Operations position was established to ensure a coordinated approach to operations across the cluster. To support the Director of Operations, three Registrar positions have been put in place. These positions are responsible for overseeing case management as well as day-to-day operations at the SJTO tribunals.

Co-location: SJTO continues to work on co-locating a number of its Toronto offices. Co-location will lead to increased accessibility, capacity and expertise for the cluster. The project plan has SJTO co-locating most Toronto offices in early 2016.

Virtual staff meetings: SJTO began holding regular staff meetings via video conference. The meetings support the alignment of the cluster's tribunals by keeping staff across the province up-to-date on changes happening across SJTO. Holding the meetings virtually offers flexibility in staff scheduling, ensuring services to the public are not disrupted.

Tribunal Initiatives

In addition to these corporate (cluster-level) activities, each of the tribunals led initiatives that support the strategic priorities. These projects are highlighted in the sections of the report for each tribunal.

Accessibility and Diversity at SJTO

Access to justice, diversity and inclusion are core values of SJTO. We are committed to an inclusive work environment that reflects Ontario's diversity and to designing barrier-free policies, processes and services.

Accessibility

In 2013-14, SJTO developed a cross cluster Accessibility and Accommodation Policy that outlines our commitment to treating all people with dignity and respect and supports their independence. The policy is accompanied by a Multi-Year Accessibility and Accommodation Plan which is focused on identifying and removing barriers so that all members of the public have equitable access to our services.

In 2013-14, SJTO improved access in the following ways:

  • Established common rules for our tribunals to achieve more consistent access
  • Developed and published a plain language "Guide to Mediation at the HRTO"
  • Implemented digital recording of Social Benefits Tribunal hearings. Recordings have been requested by persons with cognitive and/or mental health issues to help recall what happened during the hearing.
  • Used more telephone and video conferencing at the Social Benefits Tribunal. These hearing formats meant that parties who have a disability that makes travel difficult or who live far from the hearing site, did not have to travel.
  • Trained staff on the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation and the Ontario Human Rights Code related obligations
  • Established an Accommodation Coordinators Working Group to provide an opportunity for our tribunals to share best practices and develop in-house training programs
  • Participated in a consultation session with persons with disabilities and the organizations that represent them to help SJTO establish its own practices.
  • Diversity

    The Multi-Year Accessibility and Accommodation Plan is linked to the Multi-Year Diversity Plan which has commitments in four categories: people, processes, services and results.

    These are some of the SJTO initiatives that supported diversity:

    Commitments to accessibility and inclusion are also found in SJTO's mission and core values, our Code of Conduct and our business plan.


    sjto.ca


    CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES REVIEW BOARD/CUSTODY REVIEW BOARD

    Legislative Authority: Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB)

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

    Under the Education Act, the Board hears appeals of:

    Under the Intercountry Adoption Act, the Board reviews:

    Legislative Authority: 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: CFRSB / CRB

    CFRSB / CRB activities focused on changes under the strategic priority areas of tribunal modernization, dispute resolution, and external service delivery. The format of pre-hearing conferences was made more consistent, which has resulted in more effective hearings. CFSRB / CRB also invested in adjudicator training, implemented new, more efficient processes, and promoted continuous collaboration with stakeholders such as the Office of the Children's Lawyer and the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.

    Tribunal Modernization

    Amendments to the regulation governing Section 68.1 of the Child and Family Services Act came into force in September 2013. Section 68 relates to complaints against children's aid societies. The amendments required changes to the process and format of pre-hearing conferences and modified the timelines at each step of the process. Regulation 70 was also amended to reduce the CFSRB panel size, from three members to one, resulting in increased flexibility in the scheduling of hearings and reduced costs.

    Dispute Resolution

    CFSRB continued settlement facilitation for Section 68 disputes and introduced settlement facilitation for Sections 36, 61 and 144 of the Child and Family Services Act. Settlement facilitation gives parties the opportunity to reach a mutually-agreed upon outcome instead of proceeding directly to a hearing. In 2013-14, the settlement rate for Section 68 disputes was 88 per cent.

    This year, CFSRB implemented the use of talking circles, a process used by First Nations to resolve some disputes. CFSRB has started a review of its adjudicative process to include talking circles for applications when one party is First Nations and all parties consent.

    External Service Delivery

    CFSRB / CRB works with the Offices of the Children's Lawyer and of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth to ensure that children and youth have legal representation in cases before them. The Office of the Children's Lawyer continues to provide representatives in Section 61, 144 and 36 applications, and the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth offers information about the CFSRB / CRB to children and their families.

    Service Standards: Child and Family Services Review Board

    IMPORTANT: Effective September 1, 2013, the service standards were revised to reflect regulation changes to the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA).

    Service Standards:Custody Review Board

    Review will begin by a telephone call within 24 hours of the receipt of the application 80% of the time.
    Result: 100%

    Where the Board intends to hold a hearing it will advise the young person within 10 calendar days of the receipt of the application 80% of the time.
    Result: No hearings held

    Recommendations will be issued within 30 calendar days of receipt of the applications 80% of the time.
    Result: 87%

    Statistics/Commentary: CFSRB and CRB

    In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the CFSRB received 341 applications: 41 more than the last fiscal year, with increases of each type. The CRB received 99 applications, 55 fewer than last year. The total number of applications received was 440, which is almost the same as last fiscal year. The following chart provides a summary of the caseloads for the last three fiscal years:

    Child and Family Services Act
    Section 61 of the CFSA - Removal of a Crown Ward


    Four applications were scheduled for a hearing but were withdrawn before the proceedings.

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


    Settlement Facilitation for Section 68 application


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


    Section 36 of the CFSA - Application for Residential Review Placement


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


    Education Act
    Section 311.7 of the Education Act - School Board Expulsion Appeals


    The CFSRB supported the parties through mediation and some appeals were settled by the parties.

    Custody Review Board Applications



    sjto.ca/cfsrb   sjto.ca/crb


    HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL OF ONTARIO

    Legislative Authority: HRTO

    The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) is established under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Since June 2008, all claims of discrimination under the Code have been dealt with through applications filed 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: HRTO

    HRTO focused on tribunal modernization and external service delivery. The tribunal continued to reduce its active caseload. HRTO is also working closely with stakeholders to address recommendations of the Pinto Report.

    Tribunal Modernization

    The "Pinto Report" reviewing Ontario's human rights system reforms was released in November 2012. Although the report was generally positive about the new system, it contained a number of recommendations specific to the HRTO. In response to the recommendations, the HRTO has changed processes, modified forms and, in April 2014, will be introducing new practice directions for parties. Practice directions give practical advice on how to interpret tribunal rules. Work to revise the application and response forms to reduce duplication and length and increase accessibility continues. The HRTO also posted more accessible Word versions of the application forms to its website.

    External Service Delivery

    HRTO is working with the Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the human rights system in Ontario.

    Service Standards: HRTO

    The first mediation date offered to parties will be scheduled to take place within 150 calendar days from the date the parties agree to mediation 80% of the time.
    Result: 88%

    The first hearing date offered to parties will be scheduled to take place within 180 calendar days from the date the application is ready to proceed to all hearings 80% of the time.
    Result: 37%
    The average number of days for this standard was 194

    Decisions for hearing which take three days or less will be issued within 90 calendar days 80% of the time.
    Result: 71%
    The average number of days for this standard was 83

    Decisions for hearings which take longer than three days will be issued within 180 calendar days 80% of the time.
    Result: 54%
    The average number of days for this standard was 169

    Statistics and Commentary: HRTO

    Caseload

    The HRTO reduced its caseload in 2013-2014. There were 3,061 open applications at the start of the fiscal year. By year-end, that number had been reduced by 67 cases to 2,994 (with 421 of these remaining cases deferred pending the outcome of some other proceeding outside the HRTO). This was accomplished in spite of an increase of 405 applications over last fiscal year.


    Of the cases closed in fiscal 2013-14 where the application was accepted, 1,601 (64 per cent) were closed within one year. The average time from application acceptance to closure was 363 days, with a median of 263 days.

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


    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.


    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%.


    * 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


    Hearings and Decisions


    *Includes instances such as jurisdictional issues, where the matter was dealt with by another court, the granting or denying of adjournments or no response was filed.

    The HRTO also issued 1,794 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 of the Transition Applications and Commission Referred Complaints have been resolved. At the end of fiscal 2013-2014, the open caseload was:

    Transitional Applications
    16 open cases:

    Commission Referred Complaints
    2 open cases:


    sjto.ca/hrto


    LANDLORD AND TENANT BOARD

    Legislative Authority: LTB

    The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) is established under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) to hear and decide applications relating to residential tenancies. Mediation of disputes is provided with the consent of the parties.

    The LTB also provides information to landlords and tenants about their rights and obligations under the RTA.

    Resolving disputes

    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 call centre. LTB handled 293,351 telephone calls in 2013-2014.

    Operational Highlights: LTB

    The LTB developed and implemented several initiatives to support the provision of fair, effective, timely and accessible dispute resolution for the residential housing sector in Ontario. LTB initiatives focused on the areas of tribunal modernization, dispute resolution and external service delivery.

    Tribunal Modernization

    LTB is expecting the proclamation of Bill 140 in 2014/15. With a few exceptions, the bill requires LTB to serve the Notice of Hearing package on the parties. Although the bill is not yet law, the LTB is preparing by updating its rules and procedures and application forms.

    Dispute Resolution

    Bill 14, which was passed by the Legislature on September 26, 2013, provides for most co-op eviction disputes to be dealt with by the LTB. Bill 14 also introduced "fee waivers" which permit the LTB to waive or defer fees for low-income individuals. In anticipation of the bill being proclaimed in spring 2014, the LTB is developing new rules, practice directions, forms and procedures.

    The LTB has continued to deal with most landlord applications for non-payment of rent (L1s and L9s) on specific days at each office. As a result, time to hearing has decreased and application scheduling has become more predictable.

    External Service Delivery

    LTB is developing an electronic filing system that will provide clients with a new, secure and simple online filing solution. It will allow clients to file applications more quickly, at any time and from anywhere. Implementation is anticipated for early 2015.

    The LTB renewed its focus on stakeholder engagement and finalized the terms of reference for the newly-formed Practice Advisory Committee (PAC) which includes representatives from the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, the Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario, the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, and the Co-operative Housing Federation. The PAC will allow stakeholders to chair and direct the discussion.

    Service Standards: LTB

    All applications, except those dealing with an above guideline increase (AGIs) and an application to vary the amount of the reduction (A4s), will have a hearing scheduled within 25 business days 80% of the time.*
    Result: 90%

    Orders for all applications, except those dealing with an above guideline increase (AGIs) and an application to vary the amount of the reduction (A4s) will be issued within 5 business days 80% of the time.*
    Result: 88%

    *Note: LTB's case management system reports in business days.

    Statistics/ Commentary: LTB

    In 2013-14, the LTB received 81,748 applications. This is a decrease of 443 applications compared to 2012-2013.

    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 the LTB. 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, 64.6 per cent were for termination of tenancy because of arrears of rent.

    Application Resolution

    For the fiscal year 2013-2014, the LTB received 81,748 applications and resolved 82,126 applications. Some applications may generate more than one resolution because of the re-opening and review processes. As of March 31, 2014 the number of unresolved RTA applications was 8,497.


    Landlord Applications by Type


    Tenant Applications by Type


    LTB Regional Activity


    Mediation

    The LTB 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 2013-2014 fiscal year, approximately 36 per cent of all applications where both parties attended the hearing were successfully resolved through mediated agreements and/or consent orders* arrived at during mediation.

    *Like a mediated agreement, both parties agree to the terms of consent orders. Unlike mediated agreements, however, the terms of a consent order are limited to the scope of the application and they are enforceable in the same way as any other LTB order for eviction or money owed.

    Review and Appeal Statistics

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

    In 2013-2014, the LTB received 2,376 requests for review, three per cent of the total number of applications received. Of the review requests received, 881 were sent to hearing.


    sjto.ca/ltb


    ONTARIO SPECIAL EDUCATION TRIBUNALS

    Legislative Authority: OSETs

    The legislative mandate of the Ontario Special Education Tribunals (OSETs) is found in section 57 of the Education Act. 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 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 French-language school boards, both public and Roman Catholic.

    The OSETs are appeal tribunals. OSET appellants must first have satisfied the prerequisites set out in the Education Act and its regulations, before they are legally entitled to appeal.

    Service Standards

    Ontario Special Education Tribunal (English)

    All applications will be scheduled for mediation or a hearing within 120 calendar days 80% of the time.
    Result: 100%*
    *There was only one application which was scheduled for mediation. The parties settled and the application was withdrawn.

    Decisions will be issued within 90 calendar days 80% of the time.
    Result: There were no decisions issued

    Ontario Special Education Tribunal (French)

    All applications will be scheduled for mediation or a hearing within 120 calendar days 80% of the time.
    Result: There were no applications filed during this time period.

    Decisions will be issued within 90 calendar days 80% of the time.
    Result: There were no applications filed during this time period.

    Statistics/Commentary: OSETs

    Tenant Applications by Type



    sjto.ca/oset


    SOCIAL BENEFITS TRIBUNAL

    Legislative Authority: SBT

    The Social Benefits Tribunal (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: SBT

    SBT focused in the areas of tribunal modernization, dispute resolution and external service delivery. The SBT enhanced the Interim Assistance process and prioritized the use of the Early Resolution Program while maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders through the establishment of several new working groups.

    Tribunal Modernization

    Digital recording of hearings was implemented across SBT in early 2014. These recordings give all parties access to an accurate record of the hearing.

    Dispute Resolution

    SBT continues to review and improve the Early Resolution Program (ERP) which is an important tool in achieving efficient and effective dispute resolution. The ERP is held via telephone and includes the two parties and a SBT staff member, who seeks ways to resolve the appeal without a full hearing. Criteria have been developed to ensure that appropriate cases are selected for ERP. This year, SBT scheduled over 1,525 ERP sessions, an increase of 41% from the previous year. This year's settlement rate was 30%, an improvement from the previous year's 21%.

    External Service Delivery

    Interim assistance may be available to those who are experiencing financial hardship while waiting for a hearing before the SBT. A team produced revised guidelines which were introduced in November 2013 and are proving to be a valuable resource for staff. The new guidelines establish a more consistent process and allow staff to process requests more quickly.

    Building on its ongoing communication with stakeholders, a new working group with membership from SBT, Ministry of Community and Social Services and legal aid clinics was formed to make recommendations to the Practice Advisory Committee (PAC). The working group is also developing a new case streaming strategy that would identify problems with appeals early in the process, notify the applicants of the problems and, where possible, resolve the appeal prior to scheduling a hearing.

    Service Standards: SBT

    Appeals will be scheduled with a notice of hearing sent out no later than 30 calendar days after receipt of the appeal that sets a hearing date 180 calendar days after the notice of hearing 80% of the time.
    Result: 70%
    Legislated timeframe for this standard is 60 days. The actual average number of days for this standard was 37 days after receipt of the appeal that sets a hearing date of 186 calendar days after the notice of hearing.

    Decisions will be issued within 30 calendar days 80% of the time.
    Result: 71%
    Legislated timeframe for this standard is 60 days. The actual average number of days for this standard was 24.

    Statistics/Commentary: SBT

    The SBT completed 14,225 appeals in 2013-14, an increase of 900 from the previous year but due to a substantial number of incoming appeals the number of outstanding appeals still increased by more than 500 cases. The overall average case processing time increased slightly from 8.7 months to 8.9 months.


    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.

    Appeals by Program


    Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Appeals by Category


    Ontario Works (OW) Appeals by Category


    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, 2014)

    SJTO Executive Chair and Alternate


    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

    Expenditures and Revenues

    April 1, 2013 - March 31, 2014


    Source: Draft Public Accounts

    * 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
    *** 2012-13 financial information has been updated to reflect final adjustments




    sjto.ca