Social Justice Tribunals Ontario
2015 – 2016 Annual Report
(April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016)

A female adjudicator listens attentively at a desk.



Table of Contents

Executive Chair's Message

Executive Lead's Message

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario Child and Family Services Review Board Criminal Injuries Compensation Board Custody Review Board Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board Social Benefits Tribunal Appendix I: SJTO Members as of March 31, 2016

Executive Chair's Message

Head shot of Michael Gottheil

2015 marked the five-year anniversary of SJTO. When SJTO was designated as Ontario's second tribunal cluster in 2011, many stakeholders and people working within the seven tribunals asked why. Beyond the potential for financial savings through back office consolidation, what was the thread that connected these seven tribunals? After five years, a few key discoveries:

Not one single thread, but multiple threads stretch across the tribunals – perhaps the most significant being a shared commitment to address barriers to access to justice. These barriers may be procedural, informational or cultural. They may be faced by people with mental health issues and other disabilities, or by children and youth, or by people living in poverty. There are also threads of opportunity that connect us: professional development, inclusive technology, and partnerships with legal and non-legal organizations. Career opportunities have expanded for staff and members and SJTO is benefitting from an exchange of expertise.

These common threads not only tie us together, they motivate and energize a remarkable team of staff and members. Over the past five years, through their expertise and commitment, SJTO has become recognized as a leader in the administrative justice sector. This means that year after year, we have been able to capitalize on opportunities, wrestle down challenges and continue on a path of transformation and innovation.

As usual, 2015-16 was a year of change. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) joined our organization; a number of staff and members retired or left, with new people joining the team; and we developed and adopted a new operational plan.

The CICB brought a new area of administrative justice work and a unique mandate to SJTO. The board assesses claims for compensation for injury suffered by victims of violent crime. Members and staff are expert in addressing the needs of people who have suffered serious trauma, and who often feel the justice system has failed, or forgotten them. People who apply to the CICB are often marginalized by race, disability, gender identity and expression, and economic disadvantage. These communities are familiar to all of our tribunals and we welcome the addition of the CICB's experience and expertise.

2015-16 saw the departure of many staff and members from SJTO. A number of staff, including senior leaders, either retired or announced their intention to retire. Similarly, many adjudicators announced their retirement, or are moving on as a result of the "ten-year rule", a cap on the length of appointments.

The departure of team members and friends is hard. At the same time it is a period of transition and renewal. We have been engaged in a major recruitment drive, with a focus on building our capacity and diversity. We have been extremely fortunate to have so many highly qualified people apply for positions and we have recruited an amazing cadre of new staff and members. I believe the interest in these positions demonstrates that SJTO is a place people want to work.

This past year we developed a new operational plan. The process and the product were equally exciting. From the outset, we engaged staff and members. We wanted to gather knowledge and experience from the people who work in the tribunals and interact directly with the public. We wanted to know what initiatives they believed would make their jobs easier and foster fair and accessible justice.

We came up with 17 initiatives which demonstrate SJTO's position as a leader in the justice sector. Our operational plan reflects who we are, how far we have come and where we want to be in the future.

There was an amazing amount of consensus on the things we felt were important as an organization. Professional development continues to be a key focus, as does merit based recruitment that truly values diversity in the broadest sense of the word. We will be using technology to be more efficient, and to make our services more accessible. We are linking with community and other justice sector partners, like community health and legal clinics. We want to make sure we are reaching the people who need our services and that they can also get support which may help them in finding long term, sustainable resolution of problems. And we are taking up the challenge in the Calls to Action set out in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's reports on the legacy of residential schools.

In these and other ways, we are committed to our goals: to provide fair and accessible justice; to be responsive to evolution of the law and society, and to be leaders in the justice sector.

Michael Gottheil's signature

Michael Gottheil, Executive Chair
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario


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Executive Lead's Message

Head shot of Ellen Wexler

On April 1, SJTO welcomed the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB). The CICB assesses financial compensation for victims of violent crime committed in Ontario and for the family members of deceased victims.

Aside from its unique mandate, CICB is different from other SJTO tribunals in another important way: there are no paper files. Since 2013, all CICB case file documents are either received in electronic format or scanned as soon as they are received. The members take only their laptop into the hearing room.

Soon after joining SJTO, the CICB's associate chair shared the benefits of electronic case files with other SJTO leaders – members don't have to carry volumes of paper; they can navigate quickly between tabs in the file and type notes. And if a board member is unavailable, another one can access the file from a shared drive.

Along with all of the benefits for staff and members of going paperless, the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) had another reason – there will simply not be room to store paper case files when the tribunal moves to new offices in fall 2016. Inspired by CICB's success, the SBT started scanning all new, incoming appeals into electronic format on January 1, 2016. You can read more about this project in the SBT section of this report.

Meanwhile, the CICB needed to replace its 20 year old case management system which stores and tracks data about applicants and their cases. The CICB determined that the system the SBT uses was a good fit and have begun customizing it for their needs.

These are two great examples of "sharing what works" among tribunals to deliver fair, accessible justice.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the launch of e-filing at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) this year. It was truly a milestone achievement.

The LTB is the busiest tribunal in Canada. This year, they received more than 80,000 applications. From the launch of e-File on July 13, 2015 to March 31, 2016, nearly 15% of all LTB applications were filed using e-File. That works out to 11,788 applications.

People who used LTB e-File benefitted in multiple ways. They didn't need to drive to an office to submit their application, or even take the time to print and fax it in. And they could book the first available hearing date online. You can read more about the success of LTB e-File in the LTB section of this report.

Providing effective, timely and accessible justice and being a leader in the administrative justice community are SJTO values. Electronic case files, electronic filing, video-hearings and email communication are examples of how SJTO staff and members are embracing technological change as one way to bring those values to life.

Ellen Wexler's signature

Ellen Wexler, Executive Lead
Social Justice Tribunals Ontario


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Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

Two women clients get directions from a security guard at an SJTO hearing centre.

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) is a group of eight 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 justice to thousands of Ontarians.

The tribunals of the SJTO are: Child and Family Services Review Board, Criminal Injuries Compensation 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. We assess and award compensation for victims of violent crime.

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, victims' compensation, 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

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) joined SJTO

On April 1, 2015, CICB became the eighth tribunal of SJTO. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) assesses financial compensation for victims and family members of deceased victims of violent crimes. The CICB receives about 3,500 applications per year and holds hearings in 20 locations across the province.

While each of the tribunals within SJTO has a different mandate, many of our applicants are unrepresented, live in poverty and/or come from marginalized communities, and CICB applicants are no exception.

Website – sjto.ca

At the end of 2014-15, we launched the SJTO web portal (sjto.ca). The Custody Review Board, Social Benefits Tribunal, Ontario Special Education Tribunal and Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario sites were part of the portal at launch. The new site is written in simpler language, is more accessible to users with disabilities and is easier to navigate on mobile devices.

The Child and Family Services Review Board joined the portal in May 2015 and the Landlord and Tenant Board joined in July 2015. CICB will join the site in 2016-17.

The SJTO portal had 563,571 users and 2,646,144 page views in 2015 -16. These numbers exclude users in the Ontario government.

SJTO.ca Traffic Report

SJTO.ca Traffic Report

About 78.5% of page views were to pages on the LTB site, 9.5 % were to pages on the HRTO site with the remaining 12% divided between the rest of the tribunals and SJTO's corporate pages.

Seventy percent (70%) of users were on desktop, while 23% were on mobile and the remaining 7% used tablets.

Leading online accessibility

We began converting all of our PDFs (excluding forms) to HTML format on the web. HTML offers easy navigation for people using screen readers and uses less data than a PDF download, which is important for the 23% of SJTO web visitors on mobile devices. HTML documents can be saved to a computer the same as any other file format.

This year, we converted 200 French and English PDF documents to HTML format and posted them on the site. Another 200 PDFs are still outstanding.

The currency, accuracy, and consistency of the converted documents was improved during the project by correcting errors, removing outdated references, standardizing formatting and adding or updating links.

Email communication expanding

We are starting to expand the use of email as a way for parties to communicate with our tribunals. In spring 2015, SBT and LTB began using email for case inquiries. Both tribunals are planning to evaluate the pilots, consult with stakeholders, and make adjustments to the protocols, before offering the service province-wide. HRTO has always used email to answer inquiries and communicate with parties.

Co-location of SJTO's downtown Toronto offices

Planning for the move of SJTO's downtown Toronto to 25 Grosvenor St. continued in 2015-16.

Co-location is occurring in two phases. In phase 1, Toronto staff and members from all SJTO tribunals, except for the Landlord and Tenant Board, will move to Grosvenor St. Corporate services staff are also a part of the phase 1 move. In phase 2, public spaces, service counters, hearing rooms, and the Landlord and Tenant Board's Toronto South office will relocate to the renovated facility.

In the past year, detailed drawings for the design of office space for phase 1 and preliminary designs for the phase 2 public spaces were completed. Being at a single location means the tribunals will share facilities and equipment for video and telephone hearings and some administrative services, like security, mailroom and file storage. As a result, SJTO began updating business processes to ensure that operations will run efficiently at the new location.

Staff and members who are a part of phase 1 are expected to move into the renovated space in September and October 2016. Phase 2 of the co-location project is expected to be complete in late 2017.

Professional development for members

SJTO has a professional development program for adjudicators and mediators that is unique in Canada. The program includes new member training, a professional development conference, specialized sessions, 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 Professional Development Institute", a conference for SJTO's 200 adjudicators and mediators, was held for the fourth time in June 2015. The theme was "Getting the story out; taking the story in". This year's event included:

Thirty-one 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.

Adjudicator diversity

In summer 2015 SJTO conducted an adjudicator diversity survey. In a justice organization which addresses such a wide range of personal, social and economic issues, diversity helps us carry out our work. It is also important that our membership reflect the diverse population we serve. About 25% of members who responded to the survey said they were non-white, 17% identified as being a person with a disability, 11.5% were Francophone, and 11% identified as gay, lesbian, two-spirited or questioning. More than 90% of SJTO members (adjudicators) took the survey. Collecting this data is a first and necessary step towards creating a more diverse organization. We plan to conduct the survey every two years.

How to get information from an SJTO file – FOI at SJTO

In March, a new page called How to get information from an SJTO file was added to the SJTO website. It explains what a Freedom of Information (FOI) request is and when and how to make one. Having this information on our website ensures our policy and practices for releasing information are consistent and transparent. We also created and posted an FOI request form. People don't have to use the request form, but they can if they want to.

French language training for bilingual staff and members

Bilingual adjudicators and staff of SJTO, Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario, and Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario gathered for French language training in Toronto on March 7 and 8. The training included sessions on tools and resources for bilingual professionals, and workshops tailored for staff and adjudicators.

SJTO's French-English Lexicon

An SJTO working group is working with the Justice Sector French Language Services Office to develop resources and professional development opportunities for adjudicators and staff.

One of the resources is a French-English lexicon of general administrative tribunal terms. Tribunals are also developing tribunal-specific lexicons which reflect their unique legislation and processes.

Job shadow program

In November, SJTO launched a job shadow program for staff. The program offers participants a chance to be exposed to another part of SJTO and learn about a different position. Twenty-one participants were selected by lottery from 68 applications to shadow seven roles. Job shadow assignments took place in February and March 2016. In the next 12 months, the program will be evaluated and another round of job shadowing will follow.

Virtual staff meetings

Because SJTO has more than 350 staff members working in 14 locations, it is difficult to get everyone together in the same place. For that reason, two all-staff meetings were held by video-conference. Topics at the meetings included updates on employee engagement, the operational plan and training. Local, in-person staff meetings followed the virtual meetings to allow for brainstorming and discussion.

A note about the Ontario Special Education Tribunals (OSETs)

OSET (English) received one application this year which was resolved through mediation. The OSETs continue to respond to email and telephone inquiries and provide information and forms through the website.

Appointments

Effective September 8, 2015, Beverly Moore was appointed as an Alternate Executive Chair of SJTO. The role of the alternate executive chair is to act in the place of the executive chair if they are unable to act or if the position is vacant.

Effective March 7, 2016, Michael Gottheil was reappointed for another 5-year term as the Executive Chair of SJTO.

Effective March 23, 2016, Kim Bugby was appointed as the new Associate Chair of the LTB. Kim was designated as LTB's Coordinating Vice-Chair in October 2013, and appointed as Acting Associate Chair in September 2015.

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.

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

Accessibility

In 2015-16, SJTO improved access by:

Diversity

In 2015-16, SJTO supported diversity by:

Caseload Statistics (April 1, 2015 - March 31, 2016)

Human Resources

SJTO has:

Financials


* Includes CICB. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) joined the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario as of April 1, 2015. The expenditures for 2015-16 include expenditures for CICB while previous years do not.
** The caseload for the CICB increased by 12% in 2015-16 resulting in a corresponding increase in transfer payments.

Note: In 2015-16, CICB deposited $285,963 in the consolidated revenue fund for monies recovered by applicants through civil actions, pursuant to s.26(5.1) of the CVCA.

* Financial information for 2013-14 and 2014-15 has been updated from the previous annual report to reflect final adjustments.

Category Definitions


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Child and Family Services Review Board

A senior and her legal representative participate in a mediation session with a CFSRB adjudicator.

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 CFSRB can hear appeals about the expulsion of students by school boards.

Under the Intercountry Adoption Act, the CFSRB can review:

Operational Highlights

Brochure updates

The CFSRB worked on brochures that provide information for people submitting three types of applications: review of a removal of a crown ward; refusal of an application to adopt; and complaints against children's aid society.

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 assigned one member to section 68 hearings, "Complaints about the Services of a Children's Aid Society", and has assigned more two-member panels for other application types, resulting in a more effective use of resources and a significant reduction in part-time member per diem costs and travel expenses.

Support for SJTOs Child and Youth Division

The CFSRB has continued to support the work of SJTO's new Child and Youth Division. The division is working to ensure cases involving children and youth at the SJTO are dealt with in a coordinated way.

Electronic Case Files

In November 2015, the CFSRB started a pilot with a small group of members to use electronic files to conduct mediations for complaints about the services of a children's aid society. Paper files were still created and stored but members received only the electronic version. The pilot was a success and the following month the remaining members were trained to mediate complaints about the services of a children's aid society using electronic case files. In March 2016, the CFSRB stopped creating and storing paper case files for complaints about the services of a children's aid society.

Also in March 2016, the CFSRB eliminated paper files for applications requesting an order to release a child or youth from an emergency secure treatment program. These case files are now handled in electronic format.

Electronic files save on printing, storage and courier costs and make it easy for staff and members to access the files anytime from anywhere.

Scheduling Pilot

The CFSRB is working on a new way of scheduling settlement facilitation conferences. In the coming year, selected children's aid societies will be invited to participate in a brief scheduling conference call early in the process. It is hoped that the scheduling conference call will reduce the time spent finding a suitable hearing date.

Statistics

The CFSRB received 322 applications: 6 (or 2%) fewer than last fiscal.

The number of applications received was stable for almost all types of applications except for requests to review a removal of a crown ward (foster child). Last year, this type of application increased by almost 100%, from 13 to 23. This year, the number fell to 8. The number of applications to request a review of a refusal to adopt also decreased from 18 to 9.

The number of applications to complain about the services of a Children's Aid Society has increased slightly by 8%. The unusually large number of these applications still active at the end of the year may be due to a larger intake of applications close to the end of the year, as well as fewer applications being withdrawn or abandoned.

Statistics

Statistics

Table 1: Caseload
Table 2: Applications completed by resolution type: Section 61 of the Child and Family Services Act - Removal of a Crown Ward
Table 3: Applications completed by resolution type: Section 68 of the Child and Family Services Act - Complaints against a Children's Aid Society
Table 4: Applications completed by resolution type: Section 144 of the Child and Family Services Act - Refusal of Application to Adopt or Removal of an Adoption Placement
Table 5: Applications completed by resolution type: Section 36 of the Child and Family Services Act - Application for Residential Review Placement
Table 6: Applications completed by resolution type: Section 124 of the Child and Family Services Act - Review of Emergency Secure Treatment Admission
Table 7: Appeals completed by resolution type: Section 311.7 of the Education Act - School Board Expulsion Appeals
Table 8: Applications completed by resolution type: 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.




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Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

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

What We Do

The CICB assesses financial compensation for victims of violent crime committed in Ontario and for the family members of deceased victims.

The CICB can compensate victims for pain and suffering, loss of income, treatment expenses, funeral expenses and other costs that result from being a victim of the crime.

The CICB is committed to the principles of the Victims' Bill of Rights, 1995, which states that all victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect for their personal dignity and privacy.

Legislative Authority

The CICB is established under the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act.

Operational Highlights

The Newest Member of Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

On April 1, 2015, the CICB became the 8th tribunal of Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO). SJTO is committed to providing fair and accessible justice and the CICB continues to provide excellent service and support to victims of crime under the SJTO umbrella.

Since joining SJTO, the CICB has started using SJTO hearing sites in some locations instead of using hotels. These hearing locations are cost-effective for the board and safe and accessible for participants. CICB members also participated in SJTO-wide training on effective decision writing and managing hearings with self-represented parties.

The Ontario government is bringing tribunals together in clusters so they can benefit from the combined resources and expertise of the larger group, while remaining independent in their decision-making.

A New Case Management System

In September 2015 the CICB began to develop a new case management system. The current case management system is 20 years old and runs on obsolete software and hardware. No improvements can be made to the system and as the system ages, the possibility of losing data and records increases.

To address these problems, the CICB purchased a customizable off-the-shelf product called Evans My CaseLoad which is also used by the Social Benefits Tribunal and the Child and Family Services Review Board. The new system will help CICB streamline its processes, manage a growing caseload and improve reporting. The CICB is working closely with its government partners at Justice Technology Services and the vendor to develop business workflows, mail merge, and reports. The new system should be up and running in August 2016.

Improvements to Case Management

In January 2016, the CICB introduced three improvements to its case management processes:

  1. Eliminating paper
    In 2013 the CICB began converting all paper documents to electronic format as soon as they were received. Staff and adjudicators managed and processed the cases electronically from that point forward. The paper file was stored as a backup. In January, the CICB stopped archiving paper documents. Paper documents are converted to electronic format, retained for 6-9 months, and then destroyed.

  2. Accepting faxed applications
    The CICB began accepting faxed applications, offering claimants a new way to file.

  3. Speeding up intake
    The CICB began entering applications into the case management system within 48 to 72 hours. As a result, front-end case processing timelines (From the time an application is received to when documentation is being compiled to prepare for the hearing) have shortened by 36%. The change is being evaluated and the hope is that claims will be resolved more quickly.

Amendments to the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act

In March 2016, the Ontario government passed amendments to the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act which eliminated the 2-year limitation period for applying to the CICB for a crime of domestic or sexual violence. The amendments were introduced under the government's Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act. Victims of sexual and domestic violence can now apply to the CICB at any time, regardless of when the crime occurred.

Before the amendments, the CICB could extend the 2-year period, but claimants needed to request an extension by giving reasons for the delay on the application form.

The CICB expects that as a result of the change, fewer cases will require an extension review, meaning that those claimants could have an earlier hearing.

Statistics

In January 2016, the CICB started entering applications into the system as soon as they were received. This change resulted in a one-time spike in the number of applications recorded as received. The 12% increase in applications this year may be a result of the increase in applications entered in the system rather than an increase in those received.

The distribution of applications by region stayed fairly consistent with a slight shift from West to Central West this year. Similar to previous years, 58% of applications were submitted by female claimants. People from 35 to 64 years old continue to represent the largest group of applicants to the CICB.

The number of written hearings increased by 4% over last year.

The amount awarded in compensation has been consistent over the last three years. The 6.8% decrease in the awards is in line with the 6.5% decrease in hearings. With $23.6 million in awards, "pain and suffering" continues to be the largest compensation category.

Statistics

Statistics

Table 1: Caseload

* In Jan. 2016, the CICB started entering applications into the system as soon as they were received. This change increased the number of applications recorded as received and may not reflect a true increase.

Table 2: Applications Completed by Method of Resolution

* Closed administratively, duplicate, applicant died.

Table 3: Awards Issued or Denied*

* Based on decisions following a hearing.

Table 4: Applications by Region
Table 5: Applications by Gender
Table 6: Applications by Age
Table 7: Types of Hearing
Table 8: Lump Sum Awards by Benefit Type
Table 9: Lump Sum Awards by Offence Type

Service Standards

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



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Custody Review Board

Portrait of a young man in a ball cap.

What We Do

The Custody Review Board (CRB) 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.

Operational Highlights

Electronic Files

On March 1, 2016, the CRB began storing all new applications and supporting documents in electronic format. No more paper files are being created.

The intake process is still done over the phone and there are no changes to the CRB hearing process.

Electronic files save on printing, storage and courier costs and make it easy for staff and members to access the files anytime from anywhere.

Statistics

The CRB saw a slight increase in its applications this year. The number of applications seems to have stabilized and remains low, possibly in part due to the decreasing numbers of youth in custody.

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

  1. Unavailable or inadequate services in custody.
  2. Desire to be closer to family.
  3. Concern for safety in relation to staff or peers.

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 five years.

Over the last year, the CRB asked youth to self-identify on racial or ethnic grounds. More than 80% self-identified. About 45% identified as African Canadian. This information helps the CRB shape its inquiry based on the social context of the youth.

Statistics

Statistics

Table 1: Caseload
Table 2: Applications Completed by Method of Resolution
Table 3: Inquiries Held

Service Standards

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



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Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

A witness gestures while speaking to an adjudicator during a 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

SmartForm Improvements

People submitting an application to the HRTO or responding to an application have had the option of using the electronic SmartForm since 2008. SmartForms have several advantages over paper: users make fewer mistakes, the forms can be saved, printed and submitted electronically, and they are processed more quickly.

In November, the HRTO made its SmartForms easier to use. Previously, users needed to attach their completed SmartForm to an email. Now, SmartForms can be sent directly through the internet, without an email account. Users also receive an automatic confirmation with a reference number that includes the date and time of their submission.

About 25-30% of applications are filed using SmartForm.

Telephone Mediations

In November, HRTO started holding its first telephone mediations. Reduced travel time, convenience and potentially lower legal costs (because of time saved) are some of the potential benefits for parties, mediators and representatives alike.

The HRTO is scheduling teleconference mediations when both parties are represented by a lawyer or paralegal. Cases with representatives were chosen for the pilot so that the parties would have easy access to fax machine and/or email and scanner, allowing for settlement documents to be signed and exchanged.

The HRTO will be watching to make sure that the settlement rate for telephone mediations is around the same as for in-person mediations where both parties are represented, around 47%.

Three full-time members (vice-chairs) and three part-time members volunteered to pilot the telephone mediations.

About 110 mediations were held from November to March, which accounted for about 18% of all mediations at the HRTO during that time.

Outreach and Education

Meetings with other human rights organizations

The HRTO hosted delegations from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Associate Chair Yola Grant presented to members of the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal on HRTO case law, and the challenges of the new human rights system, while Vice Chair Mark Hart presented to members of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on active adjudication.

Participation in the legal community

Vice Chair Jo-Anne Pickel presented on the impact of the decision Weber v. Ontario Hydro on a statutory tribunal at a conference hosted by the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace, Queen's University. Associate Chair Yola Grant presented "HRTO Initiatives to Balance Transparency, Privacy, Expediency in the Digital Age" as part of the Ontario Bar Association's Institute 2016.

Statistics

Statistics

Statistics

Table 1: Caseload

* Of the "Active cases at year-end", 467 are "deferred" or put on hold until another proceeding outside the HRTO has dealt with the issue.
** The average time from when the application was accepted to when the file was closed.

Table 2: Decisions Issued by Type

The HRTO issued 1,535 Case Assessment Directions in 2015-16. Case Assessment Directions deal with procedural issues.

Table 3: Applications by applicant's postal code
Table 4: 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 5: Percentage of applications by ground under the Code

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

Table 6: Mediations Held
Table 7: Representation at Mediation
Table 8: Representation at Hearing

Service Standards

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

The commitment to issue decisions for hearings which take longer than 3 days within 180 days was met only 36% of the time. Because hearings that took more than 3 days to complete accounted for only 5% of hearings, the low compliance has limited impact on the HRTO's overall performance. Through recruitment and training, the HRTO is working to improve in this area so that all parties can have confidence in the system.




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Landlord and Tenant Board

A young woman crouches in front of a wall unit displaying brochures. She is reading a brochure.

What We Do

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB):

Legislative Authority

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

Operational Highlights

Improvements to How the Notice of Hearing is Served

In July 2015, LTB started serving the Notice of Hearing and the application to both the applicant and the respondent. Previously, the applicant had to serve these documents on the respondent and then submit a certificate of service to the LTB.

In March 2016, the LTB improved the process further based on feedback from users.

While most people continued to receive their Notice of Hearing package in the mail, two changes were made:

  1. People who file an application in-person at an LTB office can receive their package at the counter instead of by mail.
  2. People who file three or more applications at the same time ("bulk filing") can come into the LTB office and pick up the Notice of Hearing packages.

Landlords who apply to increase the rent above the guideline or to vary the amount of a rent reduction and non-profit housing co-operatives who apply to evict a tenant were not affected by these changes. They continue to serve the Notice of Hearing and the application.

Updates to Forms

In April, the LTB released updated versions of forms, notices and the accompanying instructions for completing them. Formatting changes made the forms more accessible and easier to understand. Many of the changes were made as a result of suggestions by the public, LTB members and LTB staff.

Orders on the Day of the Hearing

Starting in October 2015, some parties began leaving their hearing with an order in hand at LTB's Southwest, Central and Toronto North offices. LTB members (adjudicators) at these locations are testing a new process for issuing two types of orders in the hearing room:

  1. Consent orders on applications for eviction based on arrears of rent, where the parties have agreed to a repayment schedule which allows the tenant to remain in the unit.
  2. Orders where the application has been abandoned, withdrawn or discontinued.

The members write the orders by hand using a template.

Previously, the member would write the order after the hearing and then staff would mail copies to the parties, a process which can take several days.

From October 2015 to the end of March 2016, LTB members issued 668 orders in the hearing room. Feedback has been very positive and, as a next step, the LTB plans to provide portable printers so that members can complete and print the orders from a laptop instead of by hand.

Same day orders is one way the LTB is improving access to fair and timely dispute resolution. The LTB intends to roll out this initiative province-wide next fiscal year.

Case Management Hearings

The LTB continues to conduct case management hearings (CMHs) for Applications about Tenant Rights (T2) and Tenant Applications about Maintenance (T6) at its Toronto South and Southern (Hamilton) offices. In August 2015, consultation meetings were held with staff and parties who have participated in CMHs at both offices. An internal working group at the LTB is using feedback from the meetings to explore ways to improve and expand the process.

Improved Tool to "Check File Status" Online

In October 2015, the LTB launched a new-and-improved version of its "Check File Status" tool. By entering the postal code of the rental property and the file number, landlords and tenants can find out the date, time and location of their next hearing and find out if an order has been issued, without having to call the board. From October 2015 – March 2016, the page was visited nearly 38,000 times and was the 7th most popular page on the LTB website.

LTB e-File

On July 13 2015, the LTB launched e-File, allowing landlords and tenants across Ontario to file the most common LTB applications online, anytime from anywhere.

The e-File tool guides users through a series of steps, and then generates an application. Landlords and tenants can also pay the filing fees online and schedule the first available hearing date.

Four common application types can be e-Filed – two for landlords and two for tenants, which together account for 80% of all applications received at the LTB.

The two applications that tenants can file online are:

The two applications that landlords can file online are:

From the launch of e-File on July 13, 2015 to March 31, 2016, the LTB received 11,788 applications online.

23% of all L1, L2, T2 and T6 applications filed with the LTB during that time were filed using e-File.

69% of e-File applications were scheduled for a hearing date online: 75% of landlord applications and 26.5% of tenant applications.

19.2% (702) of e-File applications were filed outside of business hours.

Paper applications can still be mailed, faxed or dropped off at one of the eight LTB offices or personally delivered to more than 60 ServiceOntario locations across the province.

Email for Case Inquiries at the Southwestern and Toronto South Offices

In April 2015, the Southwestern and Toronto South offices began accepting case-specific inquiries by email. LTB users dealing with these offices are given an email address to submit information or ask questions about their case.

By November, this service was being offered to applicants and respondents of all eight LTB offices. Each office receives between 10 and 40 inquiries per week. Parties use email to request a summons, provide unavailable dates for adjourned matters, make submissions, and ask questions about the application and hearing process.

For general inquiries about the LTB process or about a tenant or landlord's rights and obligations, people are asked to visit the LTB website or call the call centre.

French-English Lexicon

The LTB developed a French-English lexicon based on the Residential Tenancies Act. The lexicon is a quick reference for bilingual staff and members so that they are confident they are always using the right terminology.

Statistics

In 2015-16, the LTB received 80,214 applications. This total includes landlord, tenant and co-op applications. This is an increase of 0.59% or 474 applications compared to 2014-2015.

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 61% were to terminate a tenancy because of non-payment of rent.

The number of unresolved applications at the LTB rose to 11,946, an increase over previous years. There are two major factors which contributed to this change:

  1. While the number of applications to terminate a tenancy for non-payment of rent remains high, the volume has been declining slightly over the last three years. By contrast, the number of tenant applications, and eviction applications for other reasons, has been increasing. These types of applications are more complex and take longer to resolve, which contributed to the increase in unresolved applications.
  2. The LTB has seen a significant turnover in members (adjudicators) this year. Seventeen percent of full-time members left the board as a result of retirements, resignations and members moving to new opportunities before reaching their 10-year cap (In 2006 Ontario limited appointments to ten years). The lengthy appointment process and the time new members need to get up to speed before they can work at full capacity, contributed to the increase in unresolved applications.

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 2015-2016, approximately 34% 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 70% of the co-op applications that were contested were resolved by mediation during 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 2015-16, the LTB received 2,891 requests for review, which is 3.62% of total applications received. Of the review requests received, 1,754 were denied after a preliminary review. The other 1,137 were sent to hearing to determine whether there was a serious error.

Statistics

Table 1: Call Centre
Table 2: All Applications Received, Resolved and Outstanding

* The 2015-16 totals include non-profit co-operative housing eviction applications.
** As one application can result in more than one resolution, the number of applications outstanding at the end of the fiscal year does not necessarily equal the number from the previous year plus receipts, less the number resolved.

Table 3: Landlord/Tenant Applications by Method of Resolution

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 4: Co-op Eviction Applications by Method of Resolution

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

Table 5: Landlord and Tenant Applications Received by Region

* When the system is unable to match the postal code to a region in an e-Filed application, it is assigned to
"Head Office".

Table 6: Co-op Applications Received by Region
Table 7: Landlord Applications Received by Type
Table 8: Tenant Applications Received by Type
Table 9: Co-op Applications Received by Type

Service Standards

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



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Social Benefits Tribunal

An appeal resolution officer talks to someone on the phone about their file.

What We Do

The Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) 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 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

Videoconference Hearings

The SBT, the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic and the Disability Adjudication Unit of the Ministry of Community and Social Services are partnering to use video-conferencing for hearings.

SBT videoconference hearings began in earnest in fall 2015 with appellants from the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic and North Peel and Dufferin Community Legal Services. The Durham Community Legal Clinic joined in March 2016.

Video hearings have benefits for everyone involved. The SBT can use adjudicators from across the province, eliminating the cost and time for travel. The case presenting officer from the Disability Adjudication Unit at the Ministry of Community and Social Services also saves on commuting time. Appellants save travel time and attend their hearing in a safe and comfortable environment.

Ann Schweighofer, office manager at the Rexdale clinic, says some lawyers and their clients were worried about not being face-to-face, but the video hearings have been well-received. "The clients are very happy not to have to travel downtown and our staff are happy for the same reason," she says.

So far, video is being used for hearings which determine whether a person will receive Ontario Disability Support Program payments. The appellant connects from the legal clinic. The respondent, who is a representative of the Disability Adjudication Unit of MCSS, connects from their office, and the SBT adjudicator connects from one of the SJTO hearing sites. The participants use Adobe Connect (for video) and teleconference (for audio). The technology is easy to use and the picture and sound are clear.

Six SBT adjudicators have conducted more than150 hearings by video so far. SBT plans to expand videoconferencing in 2016-17.

Electronic Files

As of January 1, 2016, the SBT began processing new appeals electronically.

When documents come in, case administrators scan the documents and assign a category to each one using Adobe Professional.

The SBT expects that the first hearings using electronic files will be held in September 2016. To prepare the file for a member, appeal resolution officers will create a single PDF for the file, with tabs for each category.

Electronic files save on printing, storage and courier costs and make it easy for staff and members to access the files anytime from anywhere.

New Rules of Procedure

The SBT introduced new rules of procedure, forms and practice directions on January 1, 2016.

The new forms standardize several requests that parties can make to the SBT. Because the forms ensure that the person making the request provides all the necessary information, the SBT is responding to these requests more quickly.

The new rules require earlier disclosure of preliminary issues, parties are therefore better prepared and self-represented appellants have more time to get legal help before the hearing.

In general, the new rules, forms and practice directions simplify and clarify procedures. These are some of the highlights:

Appellants must:

Respondents must:

New Scarborough Hearing Site

Starting in August 2015, appeals of many Scarborough residents are being heard at the SJTO Toronto East office at 2275 Midland Ave. The location is primarily used for LTB hearings but SBT users are now also benefitting from the site.

Previously, Scarborough appeals were heard in Toronto. The new location is easy to reach by public transit and more convenient for people who live in Scarborough. Another advantage is that because the site is also used for LTB hearings, there is a security guard present to help direct people.

More than 240 SBT hearings were held at Midland Ave. between August 6, 2015 and March 31, 2016.

This is a hearing location only. No other SBT services are provided at the office.

Email Pilot Project

In March 2015, the SBT invited some legal clinics, Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) offices to start submitting inquiries and small documents by email as part of a pilot project. An evaluation of the pilot showed that participants liked knowing that:

  1. their full communication has been received
  2. if their regular contact is out of the office at the SBT, someone else will be assigned to process their submission or inquiry

Starting in February 2016, the pilot ended and all legal clinics, OW and ODSP offices were invited to email the SBT. As of March 31, there were 191 people from more than 25 offices and clinics using email to communicate with the SBT.

Offering another means of communication makes the tribunal more accessible. Participants can still submit documents by fax or mail.

Early Resolution Opportunity Program

The SBT continues to improve the Early Resolution Opportunity program (ERO). The ERO 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 ERO 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 a 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 1,508 ERO sessions (not including medical review appeals, below). The settlement rate was 34%, a slight improvement over last year's rate of 32%.

Program Expanded to Include Medical Review Appeals

This year, the SBT expanded the ERO to include appeals of medical reviews. Medical reviews are conducted by the Disability Adjudication Unit of the Ministry of Community and Social Services and are used to determine whether an ODSP recipient is still a person with a disability. If they are no longer a person with a disability, they are no longer eligible for income support and benefits.

The Medical Review Early Resolution Pilot began on November 1, 2015 and will continue for nine months. The pilot program established expedited timelines to receive submissions from the Disability Adjudication Unit, and includes a tailored early resolution opportunity process. Parties can choose to exit the program and have a regular hearing at any time.

Five months after the program began, the SBT is seeing signs of success. While hearings are usually scheduled to take place 7 months after an appeal is received, cases in the program are being resolved as early as 2-3 months after the appeal was received. Eighty-five percent (85%) of the 27 decisions appealed in the program have been overturned (meaning that the appellant is found to still have a disability).

Statistics

The SBT received 11,318 appeals, a decrease of 2,707 from the previous year. More appeals were completed than received so the number of pending cases significantly decreased by more than 1,700. The average time to complete a case decreased from 318 days to 299 days. SBT continued to target the scheduling of hearings within 30 days of receiving the appeal.

The SBT had a significant turnover in members (adjudicators) this year. A full 30% of full-time members left the tribunal as a result of retirements, resignations and members moving to new opportunities before reaching their 10-year cap (In 2006, Ontario limited appointments to ten years). The appointment process is lengthy and new members need time to get up to speed before they can work at full capacity, meaning that there were fewer members available to hear cases.

Statistics

Statistics

Table 1: Caseload
Table 2: Appeals Completed by Method of Resolution

* Withdrawn cases can include those closed due to a successful mediation session.
** Resolved at 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, 2016

The Executive Chair and the Alternate Executive 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

Criminal Injuries Compensation 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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