Social Justice Tribunals Ontario
2014 - 2015 Annual Report


A man fills out a document at the front desk of the tribunal. The staff person behind the desk smiles and gives him instructions.



Table of Contents

Executive Chair's Message

Executive Lead's Message

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

Legislative Authority

Mandate, Mission and Values

SJTO Operational Highlights

Caseload Statistics (April 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015)

Human Resources

Financials

Child and Family Services Review Board

What We Do

Legislative Authority

Operational Highlights

Statistics

Service Standards

Custody Review Board

What We Do

Legislative Authority

Statistics

Service Standards

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

What We Do

Legislative Authority

Operational Highlights

Statistics

Service Standards

Landlord and Tenant Board

What We Do

Legislative Authority

Operational Highlights

Statistics

Service Standards

Social Benefits Tribunal

What We Do

Legislative Authority

Operational Highlights

Statistics

Service Standards

Appendix I: SJTO Members as of March 31, 2015



Executive Chair's Message

Head shot of Michael Gottheil

It gives me great pleasure to present SJTO's 2014-15 annual report. As Executive Chair, I am exceedingly proud of the hundreds of dedicated staff and members who work every day to provide procedural and substantive justice to SJTO users. Our commitment to be leaders in the justice community has produced an organization that is innovative, collaborative and a place of remarkable vitality, intelligence and professionalism.

I use the word "remarkable" with both purpose and pride. These are difficulty times for public institutions and those who work to deliver critical services within our communities. Times are harder still for many within our communities who struggle in their daily lives with the impacts of poverty, disability, and social exclusion. Yet SJTO staff and members have stepped up to the challenge. Whether it is helping individuals understand our procedures and their rights and responsibilities; processing, mediating or deciding the nearly 100,000 appeals and applications filed every year; launching new technology that enhances access; or partnering with justice sector partners on cutting edge initiatives, SJTO staff and members believe in the importance of their work and continually look for ways to improve.

In most areas, we have been able to maintain or improve on our service standards in 2014-15. Through our commitment to recruitment, career and professional development we have continued to build capacity and excellence. We prepared to launch e-filing and online scheduling at the LTB, expanded early resolution at the SBT, and held the inaugural meeting of the Child and Youth Division stakeholder group. And as we move into our next fiscal year, we will welcome the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to SJTO.

It is sometimes said there is strength in numbers. At SJTO it is not simply an economy of scale that allows us to serve our users and meet our mandate. Rather, it is the breadth of experience, the individual dedication to public services and the collective goal of fairness and justice which takes SJTO forward.

Michael Gottheil’s signature

Michael Gottheil, Executive Chair
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario



Executive Lead's Message

Head shot of Ellen Wexler

I am proud to present SJTO's 2014-15 annual report. This year, our tribunals resolved 96,332 applications and appeals. It's this work, handled by our staff, mediators and adjudicators, that is at the core of our mandate to provide fair and accessible dispute resolution.

SJTO is constantly striving to improve and making our tribunals accessible is one of our priorities. Accessibility coordinators at each tribunal work with people who need accommodation to participate fully in the tribunal processes. Accommodations range from mailing out large print documents, to arranging video or teleconferencing in place of an in-person hearing or mediation, to allowing time for religious observances.

Another way we are making our tribunals more accessible is by using technology to improve customer service. This year we launched a more accessible website, started accepting more case file information by email, and are working with legal clinics to do more video hearings. Early next year, we'll be launching an e-filing pilot at the Landlord and Tenant Board that will allow people to file anytime from anywhere. Our plan is to expand e-filing province-wide in the summer of 2015.

Within SJTO, we launched a consolidated online hearing and mediation room calendar that allows staff to check availability and book hearing rooms across all 13 SJTO sites. The calendar is helping us fully realize the benefits of being part of a group of tribunals. By using all of our available spaces, there are fewer delays in mediations and hearings and fewer rental costs for non-SJTO venues.

At the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the Child and Family Services Review Board, we reduced delays and saved money by changing how we schedule hearings. At the Landlord and Tenant Board, we created a process to request and grant fee waivers for people with a low income. We also started using electronic case files at the Landlord and Tenant Board for eviction applications from non-profit housing co-operatives - a first for SJTO.

You will find more of initiatives like these ones described in this report. But it's our everyday work - answering questions, ensuring files are complete, scheduling and conducting mediations and hearings, and writing decisions - that is our most important achievement.

Recognizing that our staff know our work the best, we took the opportunity to consult them on how the organization can improve. Over the next year, we'll use the information we gathered to develop a plan to increase employee engagement and improve customer service.

In the meantime, I would like to thank each of the SJTO staff and adjudicators for what you do: it is your dedication that makes SJTO an organization I am proud to be part of.

Ellen Wexler’s signature

Ellen Wexler, Executive Lead
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario



Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

A couple in their thirties shake hands with an SJTO mediator in the hallway.

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) is a group of seven adjudicative tribunals that play an important role in the administration of justice in Ontario. Each year our tribunals receive and resolve nearly 100,000 cases - providing fair, accessible dispute resolution to thousands of Ontarians.

The tribunals of the SJTO are: 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 and Social Benefits Tribunal.

The kinds of disputes we address at our tribunals 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.

Legislative Authority

SJTO was created in 2011 under the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009 (ATAGAA). ATAGAA lets the government group adjudicative tribunals into an organization called 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". Each tribunal within Social Justice Tribunals Ontario continues to exercise the powers given to it under law.

The Statutory Powers Procedures Act provides a general framework for the conduct of hearings before Ontario's administrative tribunals.

Mandate, Mission and Values

Mandate

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

Mission

SJTO and its tribunals will:

Values

Our values set the foundation for our rules and policies, how those rules and policies are applied, and how we deliver service to the public. The values are:

Accessibility

Fairness and Independence

Timeliness

Transparency

Professionalism and Public Service

SJTO Operational Highlights

SJTO constantly works to make our tribunals more accessible, to strengthen the expertise of our adjudicators and to be leaders in the justice community. Here are some of the operational highlights from 2014-15.

Member Recruitment

Since SJTO was formed in 2011, it has been increasing the number of members who speak French. In 2014-15, the SJTO appointed five bilingual members: two full-time and three part-time. SJTO now has 25 members who can conduct hearings in French or English.

SJTO also improved outreach to diverse professionals for adjudicator positions through ethnic legal associations (e.g. South Asian Bar Association), the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, Maytree and the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.

Next year, we plan to conduct an adjudicator diversity survey to give us the information we need to build a stronger, more diverse organization.

Co-location of SJTO Downtown Toronto Offices

Co-location of SJTO's downtown Toronto offices has been planned since SJTO was formed in 2011. Since that time, the scope of the co-location project has been expanded and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario, and the Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario will also relocate at 25 Grosvenor Street, Toronto. Because the tribunals will be able to share hearing and mediation rooms at the new location, the co-location will result in lease savings. The co-location also has the potential for the tribunals to share facilities and equipment for video and telephone hearings and some administrative services, like security, mailroom and file storage.

Most of SJTO's downtown Toronto offices will move in the summer of 2016. LTB's Toronto South office is scheduled to move in May 2017.

To ensure that the new space at 25 Grosvenor meets the needs of the tribunals and its users, the project's design consultants conducted extensive consultations over the winter of 2015. The consultants visited all of the SJTO offices to look at the space and document how it is being used. Staff and members were consulted through focus groups, interviews and an online survey.

In January and February, SJTO stakeholders were given an opportunity to learn about the project and provide feedback on the public spaces in the new building through a web-based information session, a focus group and an invitation to provide written feedback.

The information collected will be used to develop detailed floor plans over the next nine months.

Email Communication

SJTO has started using email more often as a way to communicate with parties.

In March and April 2015, SBT and LTB began piloting the use of email for case inquiries. Both tribunals will evaluate the pilots, consult with stakeholders, and make adjustments to the protocols, before offering the service province-wide.

The use of email is not entirely new at SJTO. The HRTO has used email to answer inquiries and communicate with parties since it was formed in 2008. The CFSRB has accepted applications by email since 2012.

Website

The new SJTO web portal (sjto.ca), launched on March 30, 2015, is written in simpler language, is more accessible to users with disabilities and is easier to navigate on mobile devices. It also has a better search function, making it easier for people to find what they're looking for, both using the internal search and through search engines like Google and Bing. The site delivers on SJTO's commitment to make an active offer of accommodations and French language services. It also improves SJTO accountability by putting executive travel and meal expenses, policies and a list of members all in the same spot.

The Custody Review Board, Social Benefits Tribunal, Ontario Special Education Tribunal and Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario sites were launched on March 30, 2015. The Landlord and Tenant Board and the Child and Family Services Review Board will join the site later this year.

Evaluation Project

SJTO is constantly striving to improve. This year, the SJTO Evaluation Project was conducted to measure SJTO's performance through self-evaluation by members, staff and management. The survey for the project was based on the one done by the Council of Australasian Tribunals with modifications to fit the Ontario context.

The survey looked at eight areas:

71.5% of all members, staff and management completed the survey, which was administered online in September and October 2014. The answers will help SJTO understand how well we are delivering in areas like accessibility, independence, fairness and leadership. We will use the results to plan for improvement in these areas.

Professional Development

SJTO has a professional development program for adjudicators and mediators that is unique in Canada. The program includes new member training, an annual professional development conference and modules that can be delivered in person or online. The program focuses on skill development and knowledge but also broadens the perspective and deepens the sensibilities of our decision-makers by shedding light on the perspectives of our users and the challenges they face. It is thanks to our pooled resources and the common thread of social justice that winds through our tribunals that we can deliver this program.

"The Institute", our annual professional development event for SJTO's 200 adjudicators and mediators, was held for the third time in May 2014. The theme was "Evolution of the Law" and covered topics like communication in mediation, decision writing, early resolution techniques and evidence. The event incorporated more stakeholder and client perspectives than in the past.

Sixteen new members at SBT, LTB and HRTO received foundational training that included modules on administrative law principles, natural justice and procedural fairness, statutory interpretation, freedom of information and privacy, ethical obligations and independence of adjudicators, human rights, and areas of law within the mandate of the tribunal.

Other professional development initiatives include training modules for all members in human rights, decision writing, evidence, credibility assessment, and an intensive session on Aboriginal perspectives in dispute resolution.

The SJTO professional development program also incorporates courses from the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators, the Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals, the Ontario Bar Association and the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice.

Seminar Series on Targeted Legal Services

As an organization that operates on the front lines of justice, SJTO understands that representation by a lawyer is not always possible, and Ontario needs alternatives. For that reason, Social Justice Tribunals Ontario collaborated with TAG - The Action Group on Access to Justice and The Law Society of Upper Canada to hold the first of three half-day symposia to explore how targeted legal services can increase access to justice. Seventy-nine people attended the first symposium called Targeted Legal Services: We Are All Pieces of the Puzzle held at Osgoode Hall, in Toronto on February 3, 2015. Another 227 people watched the live webcast.

Targeted legal services includes limited scope retainers and self-help information, but also incorporates early resolution and dispute avoidance programs offered through community organizations, public legal information and referral services, alternate dispute resolution, alternative hearing processes at courts and tribunals, and alternative practice models for lawyers and paralegals.

At the symposium, panel members from the Superior Court of Justice, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, the Income Security Advisory Centre and the private bar, reflected on their experience using targeted legal services.

Two more symposia are scheduled for May and September 2015.

Child and Youth Division

The OSETs, the HRTO, the CFSRB and the CRB hear cases about children and youth in the areas of special needs, mental health, education, and placements in care. To develop a more youth-centric approach, two bodies were formed:

  1. A Child and Youth Division with representatives from the four tribunals.
  2. A Child and Youth Practice Advisory Committee with representatives from: the Ministry of Children and Youth Services; the Children's Lawyer of Ontario; the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth; the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies; Youthdale community agency; Justice for Children and Youth legal clinic; the Native Child and Family Service Agency of T.O., and lawyers in private practice. The first meeting of the Practice Advisory Committee was held on Jan 20, 2015.

The division and its practice advisory committee are focused on two areas: the recruitment, training and cross-appointment of adjudicators and stakeholder engagement. The SJTO has several members who are expert in child/youth matters and who are cross-appointed to one or more of the CFSRB/CRB, OSETs and HRTO, including the CFSRB's Associate Chair, who is cross-appointed to the HRTO and OSETs.

A Note about the Ontario Special Education Tribunals (OSETs)

While no applications have been recently filed, the OSETs continue to respond to email and telephone inquiries and provide information and forms on its new website: sjto.ca/oset and tjso.ca/tedo

Caseload Statistics (April 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015)

Human Resources

SJTO has:

Financials*



* Financial information for 2012-13 and 2013-14 has been updated from the previous annual report to reflect final adjustments.

Category Definitions

Salaries includes: Salaries and wages for SJTO staff and full-time adjudicators, and for temporary help

Benefits includes: CPP, EI, Employer Health Tax and insurance

Travel and communications includes: Costs for items such as telephone and fax, voice mail, blackberry and mobile phones, audio conferencing, postage, travel costs

Services includes: costs for items such as office equipment rental, translation, interpreter fees, rental for hearing venue, security and printing

Part-time members per diem is compensation for part-time members

Supplies and equipment includes: costs for items such as furniture and fixtures, office equipment, stationery and office supplies


sjto.ca
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Child and Family Services Review Board

A young man and his female lawyer discuss documents with a male mediator in one of the tribunal's meeting rooms.

What We Do

The Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB) conducts reviews and hearings on a number of matters that affect children, youth and families in Ontario.

Legislative Authority

Under the Child and Family Services Act, the CFSRB can review:

Under the Education Act, the Board can hear appeals about the expulsion of students by school boards.

Under the Intercountry Adoption Act, the Board can review:

Operational Highlights

Brochure updates

The CFSRB made changes to its brochures for self-represented applicants. The brochures explain the CFSRB processes at hearings, pre-hearings and settlement facilitations, so that applicants are better prepared to come before the CFSRB.

Smaller panels

Amendments to Regulation 70 of the Child and Family Services Act changed the minimum number of members required to hear an application or appeal from three to one. The CFSRB has started assigning one member to hearings of Complaints about Children's Aid Society's Services (section 68) and has assigned more two-member panels for other application types than in previous years, contributing to a significant reduction in part-time member per diem costs and travel expenses.

Support for SJTO Child and Youth Division

The CFSRB has supported the work of SJTO's new Child and Youth Division by conducting a review of board and tribunal caseloads and preparing a discussion paper. The division is working to ensure cases involving children and youth at the SJTO are dealt with using a more consistent and child-focused approach.

Staff Training

Frontline staff received training from a mental health professional to increase their understanding of mental health issues, dissipate myths and end stigma. The training helps staff better serve users with mental health issues.

Statistics

The CFSRB received 329 applications: 12 (or 3%) fewer than last fiscal.

The number of applications received was stable for almost all types of applications. The exception was applications for the Removal of a Crown Ward, which increased by almost 100%, from 13 to 23.

Statistics

Statistics

Table 1: Caseload Summary

Table 2: Section 61 of the Child and Family Services Act - Removal of a Crown Ward

Table 3: Section 68 of the Child and Family Services Act - Complaints against a Children's Aid Society

Table 4: Section 144 of the Child and Family Services Act - Refusal of Application to Adopt or Removal of an Adoption placement

Table 5: Section 36 of the Child and Family Services Act - Application for Residential Review Placement

Table 6: Section 124 of the Child and Family Services Act - Review of Emergency Secure Treatment Admission

Table 7: Section 311.7 of the Education Act - School Board Expulsion Appeals

Table 8: Section 5 & 6 of the Intercountry Adoption Act (Refusal to Adopt Outside of Canada)

Service Standards

The goal is to meet the service standard 80% of the time.




sjto.ca/cfsrb
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Custody Review Board

Portrait of a young man.

What We Do

The Custody Review Board hears applications and makes recommendations on the placement of young people in custody or detention about:

Legislative Authority

The CRB operates under the jurisdiction of the Child and Family Services Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Statistics


Reviews are usually conducted as inquiries over the phone and are completed very quickly. The CRB can also choose to hold a hearing but hasn't done so in the past three years.

For the second year in a row, the CRB saw a significant decrease in applications. The decrease could be due in part to the record low numbers of youth in custody.

The three most common issues raised by youth in their CRB applications this year were, in order of frequency:

  1. Concern for safety in relation to conflict with peers
  2. Concern for safety in relation to conflict with staff (both physical and verbal abuse were cited)
  3. Desire to be closer to family

In the last six months of the fiscal year, the CRB started to ask youth to self-identify on racial or ethnic grounds. The vast majority chose to self-identify. About 40% identified as African Canadian. This information helps the CRB to have a better understanding of one aspect of the applicants' social context.

Service Standards

The goal is to meet the service standard 80% of the time.



sjto.ca/crb
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Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

A woman and her lawyer, seated at a desk, consult during the hearing.

What We Do

The HRTO resolves claims of discrimination and harassment brought under the Human Rights Code in a fair, just and timely way. The HRTO first offers parties the opportunity to settle the dispute through mediation. If the parties do not agree to mediation, or mediation does not resolve the application, the HRTO holds a hearing.

Legislative Authority

The HRTO is established under the Human Rights Code.

Operational Highlights

New Associate Chair

In April 2014, the HRTO welcomed a new Associate Chair, Yola Grant. Yola is a labour, employment and human rights lawyer and a teacher. Before joining the HRTO, Yola worked at 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.

Acted on Pinto Report Recommendations

In April 2014, the HRTO implemented these recommendations made in the Report of the Ontario Human Rights Review 2012 (The Pinto Report):

  1. Gave respondents the opportunity to provide a regular contact person for their organization. This is helpful in cases where an applicant names a contact who is not the right person in the organization to receive a human rights application.
  2. Updated practice directions on "Reconsideration" and "Naming a Respondent" to clarify the rules around these processes and address common mistakes.
  3. Introduced two new practice directions:

Notice of Public Nature of Decisions added to Forms

The HRTO is sensitive to the fact that privacy concerns must be balanced against the public interest in an open justice system. The HRTO updated the "declaration" section of the application and response forms in December 2014 to make it clear that HRTO decisions are available to the public and that in some limited circumstances decisions can be anonymized.

Shorter Hearings

Most hearings this year were scheduled for one or two days. Previously they had been scheduled for three. This change means:

The results of the change were positive:

New Registrar Letters

Fourteen registrar letters were created or updated this year. These letters are written in simpler language, which helps parties understand the HRTO processes. Some of the letters address common requests made by parties that members previously had to address through a more formal adjudicative review that resulted in a Case Assessment Direction. Creating registrar letters to address these requests has made the application review process more efficient and freed up members' time for hearings, mediations and decision writing.

Data Centre Move

The ten servers hosting HRTO case management system were moved from HRTO's Toronto offices to a secure and reliable Ontario data centre in Guelph.

Statistics

Statistics

Statistics

Table 1: Caseload

Of the "Active cases at year-end", 454 are "deferred" or put on hold until another proceeding outside the HRTO has dealt with the issue.

Of the cases closed in fiscal 2014-15 where the application was accepted, 2,286 (72 per cent) were closed within one year. The average time from application acceptance to closure was 316 days, with a median of 225 days.

Table 2: Applications by applicant's postal code

Table 3: Percentage of applications by social areas under the Code

Some applications allege discrimination in more than one social area, so the totals exceed 100%.


Table 4: Percentage of applications by ground under the Code

Many applications claim more than one ground, so the totals exceed 100%.


Table 5: Mediations Held

Table 6: Representation at Mediation

Table 7: Representation at Hearing

Table 8: Decisions Issued by Type

The HRTO issued 1,553 Case Assessment Directions in 2014-15. Case Assessment Directions deal with procedural issues.

Service Standards

The goal is to meet the service standard 80% of the time.




sjto.ca/hrto
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Landlord and Tenant Board

A man consults a document while talking over a headset.

What We Do

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) was established on January 31, 2007 to:

Legislative Authority

The Landlord and Tenant Board is established under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).

Operational Highlights

Non-profit Housing Co-op Eviction Applications

On June 1, 2014, non-profit housing co-operatives ("co-ops") began filing applications for eviction with the LTB instead of the courts.

The change was made as a result of the Non-profit Housing Co-operatives Statute Law Amendment Act which amends parts of the RTA.

Because the LTB anticipated receiving only about 500 co-op eviction applications annually, it decided to pilot new processes which could potentially be used for other kinds of applications.

Some of these new processes are:

From June 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015 the LTB received 208 co-op eviction applications, most for non-payment of regular monthly housing charges.

When co-op applications are filed, the LTB schedules both a case management hearing and a merits hearing. About 75% of the co-op applications that are contested have been resolved by mediation at the case management hearing, freeing up the time to hear other applications. Most people who have participated in case management hearings, say they liked having the opportunity to settle the dispute before a hearing. The LTB will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the co-op processes.

Fee Waivers

Another amendment in the Non-profit Housing Co-operatives Statute Law Amendment Act allows the LTB to waive fees for people who have a low income. The LTB developed criteria for determining who would qualify for a fee waiver and a process for submitting a fee waiver request.

The proposed rule and practice direction related to fee waivers were posted for public consultation in February 2014 and fee waivers were implemented on June 1. From June 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, the LTB received 1,659 requests resulting in $75,144 in waived fees.

Case Management Hearings Pilot

On September 15, 2014 the LTB began piloting case management hearings for Applications about Tenant Rights (T2) and Tenant Applications about Maintenance (T6).

During a case management hearing, parties can settle the issues in dispute with the help of a hearing officer: an LTB mediator who has been designated as a hearing officer under the RTA. If an application is not settled, the LTB schedules a second hearing to hear the merits of the application. The hearing officer makes sure the parties are prepared for the merits hearing, by directing them to exchange documents by a specific date, for example.

LTB's Toronto South and Southern (Hamilton) offices are piloting the initiative. Case management hearings are being conducted in person or by phone.

The pilot is being evaluated based on settlement rates, level of preparedness for a merits hearing and the type of adjournments requested at a merits hearing. Early results show that about 55% of the applications that were scheduled for a case management hearing were resolved at that stage. There was no difference in the success rate between case management hearings conducted by telephone or in person. Depending on the results of the pilot, the LTB will consider expanding the use of case management hearings to other LTB offices and other types of applications.

Scheduling in full day blocks instead of half day blocks - Toronto North & South District Offices

The LTB has changed how hearings are scheduled in the Toronto South and Toronto North District Offices. Previously, hearings in those two locations had been scheduled in half day hearing blocks. Starting in March 2015, most cases (Forms L1 and L9 excepted) were scheduled into full day hearing blocks. Full day hearing blocks are already common in many other LTB hearing locations.

A hearing block is a period of time during which a group of applications are scheduled. Parties are not given a specific time slot when their application will be heard during their block. They wait in the hearing room until their application is called.

The hope is that the change will reduce the number of hearings that have to be rescheduled because of lack of time. In a full day block, if tenants consult with duty counsel or if the parties choose to mediate, there will usually still be time to hold a hearing.

The LTB will be monitoring the new approach to make sure that more cases are being heard on the day they are scheduled.

Updated Forms

The LTB launched updated application and notice forms on March 1, 2015 (for use starting April 1). The new forms are easier to understand and complete.

Upcoming Initiatives

LTB e-File: Looking to the coming year, LTB is excited to begin with a soft launch of an electronic filing system (e-File). During the soft launch a small pool of regular users will eFile their applications. LTB e-File will provide clients with a new, secure and simple way to file the following forms online: L1, L2, T2 and T6. The LTB expects to make e-File available across the province in the summer of 2015.

Email for case-specific inquiries: LTB is piloting the use of email as a way for parties to submit information or ask questions about their case in two offices: Toronto South and Southwestern (London). If the pilot is successful, the plan is to offer email across the province as another way for parties to get in touch with the LTB.

Mediations

When both parties involved in an application are interested in working together to resolve the issues in dispute, the LTB provides a mediator. In 2014-2015, approximately 35% of all applications where both parties attended the hearing were resolved through mediated agreements and/or consent orders arrived at during mediation. By comparison, about 75% of the co-op applications that were contested were resolved by mediation at the case management hearing.

A mediated agreement is an agreement between the parties. A consent order is an LTB order based on terms that the parties agree to and is enforceable by the courts.

Reviews and Appeals

A party can ask for a review of an LTB decision if a "serious error" has been made in the order.

In 2014-2015, the LTB received 2,471 requests for review, 3% of the total applications received. Of the review requests received, 1,440 were denied after a preliminary review. The other 1,022 were sent to hearing to determine whether there was a serious error.

Call Centre

The LTB handled 286,869 telephone calls this year. The average time per call was 05:10. The average time callers waited in the call queue was 06:48.

Statistics

In 2014-15, the LTB received 79,740 applications. This total includes landlord, tenant and co-op applications. This is a decrease of 2.45% or 2,008 applications compared to 2013-2014.

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 90% of applications filed by landlords and 10% 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, approximately 62.7% were to terminate a tenancy because of non-payment of rent.

On June 2, 2014, non-profit housing co-operatives ("co-ops") began filing applications for eviction with the LTB. These applications were previously handled by the courts. The LTB received 208 co-op eviction applications between June 1, 2014 and the end of the fiscal year.

As of March 31, 2015, the number of unresolved applications at the LTB was 10,286.

Statistics

Statistics

Table 1: All Applications Received, Resolved and Outstanding

* The 2014-2015 totals include non-profit co-operative housing eviction applications, which the LTB began receiving in June 2014.

Table 2: Landlord and Tenant Applications Received by Region (April 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015)

Table 3: Co-op Applications Received by Region (June 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015)

Table 4: Landlord Applications Received by Type

Table 5: Tenant Applications Received by Type

Table 6: Co-op Applications Received by Type (June 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015)

Table 7: Landlord/Tenant Applications by Method of Resolution (April 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015)

1 ordered by hearing abandoned
2 mediated; ordered by hearing mediated
3 ordered by hearing contested or uncontested; ordered by review
4 ordered ex parte; ordered by section 206 agreement
5 discontinued; order voided; ordered amended; amendment denied


Table 8: Co-op Eviction Applications by Method of Resolution (June 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015)

6 application withdrawn/discontinued; parties settled the issues on their own

When a co-op eviction application is filed, the LTB schedules a case management hearing (CMH) and a merits hearing. If the application is resolved at the CMH, the merits hearing is cancelled.

Service Standards

The goal is to meet the service standard 80% of the time.



sjto.ca/ltb
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Social Benefits Tribunal

A male mediator or adjudicator explains something to four people sitting at a boardroom table.

What We Do

The Social Benefits Tribunal hears appeals from people who have either been refused social assistance or who receive social assistance but disagree with a decision that affects:

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

Legislative Authority

The Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) is established under Part IV of the Ontario Works Act, 1997. Appeals are heard under that act and the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997.

Operational Highlights

Information Brochure Redesign

SBT has developed a new information brochure based on valuable input from stakeholders. The new SBT brochure is written in simpler language and includes:

Email Pilot Project

On March 30, 2015, SBT launched a six-month pilot which allows some legal clinics and ODSP/OW offices to submit documents and inquiries by email. By offering another means of communication, email improves the accessibility of the tribunal. Participants can still chose to submit documents by fax or mail. An evaluation of the pilot that includes stakeholders will begin in September. If the pilot proves successful, it will be expanded to other areas of the province.

Video Conferencing

The SBT, the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic and the Disability Adjudication Unit of the Ministry of Community and Social Services partnered to pilot the use of video-conferencing technology for appeal hearings. The technology is easy to use and the picture and sound are clear. There are benefits for everyone involved. Appellants will save travel time and attend their hearing in a safe and comfortable environment. The case presenting officer from the MCSS Disability Adjudication Unit will also save on commuting time by attending the hearing by video from their office.

Early Dispute Resolution

The SBT continues to improve the Early Resolution Program (ERP). The ERP is held by phone with the two parties and a SBT Appeal Resolution Officer, who helps the parties look for opportunities to resolve the appeal without a hearing. Parties benefit from the ERP because they can have a chance to resolve the appeal as early as one month after the appeal is filed, instead of waiting several months for hearing. The parties also have ownership of the resolution, instead of holding a hearing where a member makes the decision. This year, the SBT held 1,433 ERP sessions. The settlement rate was 32%, similar to last year's rate of 34%.

SBT Rules

SBT is developing its own Rules of Procedure. Together with the SJTO Common Rules, introduced in October 2013, the SBT Rules of Procedure will increase the transparency of the SBT's procedures, and help parties prepare for their hearing. SBT consulted with stakeholders on the rules in early 2015.

Medical Review Appeals

SBT started to see an increase in medical review appeals this year as MCSS' Disability Adjudication Unit increased the number of medical reviews they conducted. The SBT received 726 medical review appeals. By comparison, in 2013-2014, we received 147. The volume of appeals is expected to continue to increase and SBT is working with the legal clinics and the DAU on two projects to address the increase:

  1. Expanding the ERP to include medical review cases appeals
  2. Introducing consent orders at the hearing

Staff Training

Frontline staff received training from a mental health professional to increase their understanding of mental health issues, dissipate myths and end stigma. The training helps staff better serve users with mental health issues.

Statistics

The SBT received 14,025 appeals, a decrease of 700 from the previous year. More appeals were completed this year than last, so the number of pending cases also went down by more than 500. The average time to complete a case increased from 8.9 months to 10.6 months. SBT continued to schedule hearings within 30 days of receiving the appeal.

Statistics

Statistics

Table 1: Summary

Table 2: Appeals Completed with or without a Hearing

* Completed without a hearing includes: 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.

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: 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 its original decision in accordance with the directions given by the tribunal.

Service Standards

The goal is to meet the service standard 80% of the time.



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Appendix I: SJTO Members as of March 31, 2015

The Executive Chair and the Alternate Chair are members of each of the SJTO tribunals. Members with an asterisk (*) are appointed to more than one SJTO tribunal.

SJTO Executive Chair and Alternate


Child and Family Services Review Board and Custody Review Board


Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario


Landlord and Tenant Board


Ontario Special Education Tribunals

Ontario Special Education Tribunals

English Tribunal Members

French Tribunal Members

Social Benefits Tribunal



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