Social Justice Tribunals Ontario
2017/18 – 2019/20 Business Plan



Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) is designated as an adjudicative tribunal cluster under the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009 (ATAGAA). SJTO is comprised of eight tribunals: the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB), the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB), the Custody Review Board (CRB), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO), the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), the Ontario Special Education Tribunals (English and French) (OSETs), and the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT).

SJTO's mandate is to resolve applications and appeals by providing fair, effective, timely and accessible resolutions for a number of statutes relating to child and family services oversight, youth justice, human rights, compensation for victims of violent crime, residential tenancies, special education, disability support and other social assistance.

SJTO has identified five strategic directions that directly support SJTO's mandate and mission including:

This plan sets out the key initiatives, that align with the strategic directions, that SJTO will continue to enhance or implement over the next three years including:

Mandate, Mission and Values

Our Mandate

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

Our Mission

SJTO and its constituent tribunals will:

Our Values

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

Accessibility

Fairness and Independence

Timeliness

Transparency

Professionalism and Public Service

Overview of Programs and Activities

Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB)

The CFSRB operates under the Child and Family Services Act and the Education Act. The CFSRB conducts reviews, hearings and appeals for matters affecting children, youth and families in Ontario, including: Children's Aid Society services complaints; emergency secure treatment admissions; adoption refusals; and, appeals of school board expulsions. In 2015-16, the CFSRB received 322 applications and closed 269 applications.

Custody Review Board (CRB)

The CRB operates under the Child and Family Services Act to review placement decisions made regarding young persons who are being held in detention or custody and make recommendations to the Provincial Director regarding the placement of youth. In 2015-16, the CRB received 93 applications and closed 90 applications.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB)

The CICB operates under the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act (CVCA). The CICB assesses and awards compensation to victims of crime in Ontario. In 2015-16, CICB received 3,706 applications and held 2,898 hearings.

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO)

The HRTO operates under the Human Rights Code. The HRTO's primary role is to provide an accessible process to resolve disputes/applications/claims of discrimination through mediation and hearings. In 2015-2016, the HRTO received 3,357 applications and closed 3,204 applications.

Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)

The LTB resolves applications related to residential tenancy disputes and eviction disputes in non-profit housing co-operatives filed under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). In 2015-16, the LTB received 79,742 applications and resolved 77,773 applications. LTB is also mandated to provide information to landlords and tenants about their rights and obligations under the RTA. In addition to handling 299,143 telephone inquiries, in 2015-16, the LTB's website experienced over 2 million page views with over 700,000 downloads of LTB forms and other documents containing LTB information.

Ontario Special Education Tribunals (English and French) (OSETs)

The OSETs were established to resolve disputes between parents of exceptional pupils and school boards. The OSETs receive applications from parents who have been unable to resolve disputes with school boards respecting the identification and placement of exceptional pupils. In 2015-16, there was 1 appeal filed to the English OSET (file closed in the 2016-2017 fiscal year). There were no appeals to the French OSET in 2015-16.

Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT)

The SBT decides appeals under the Ontario Works Act, 1997 and the Ontario Disability Support Plan Act, 1997. The SBT considers appeals by applicants who have been refused social assistance and recipients of social assistance who disagree with a decision that affects the amount of, or their eligibility for, social assistance. In 2015-16, the SBT received 11,318 appeals and closed 13,038 appeals.

Environmental Scan and Risks

External Factors

The fluidity of socio-economic factors in Ontario always influences the SJTO tribunals. There continues to be a shortage of affordable housing and a greater reliance on social assistance as a result of economic hardship. This can also lead to an increase in domestic and family breakdown, and perhaps also in violent crime. As a result SJTO tribunals could experience additional caseload pressures and may require additional funding to compensate victims of violent crimes.

In fiscal year 2015-16 a 4.4% permanent reduction was applied to SJTO's base operating allocation and a further ministry constraint of 2.7% was applied in 2016-17. In the 2015 Budget, the government identified a number of major initiatives to modernize public services, improve outcomes for Ontarians and support the Province's fiscal objectives. These initiatives are: ensuring sustainable programs and services for Ontarians; making government work better for Ontarians; managing financial relationships; and optimizing infrastructure investments. As the government introduces and imposes these initiatives, further constraints will be applied to SJTO's operating allocation for fiscal year 2017-18 and out-years.

On April 1, 2016, the Open Data Directive came into effect. The objectives of this directive are to improve transparency and accountability; support the release of open data to the public; enable evidence-based decision making within the OPS; support and increase data sharing across ministries; collect data and report on compliance with the Open Data Directive and other key performance measures. SJTO was required to make data public, unless it was exempt for privacy, legal, confidentiality, security or commercially sensitive reasons. SJTO posted a list of all available datasets on September 29, 2016, indicating which ones were public and which were not. It is expected that additional government wide initiatives could be put in place to support transparency and accountability.

One of the requirements in the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act (ATAGAA) is that all adjudicative tribunals have a mandate review at least once every six years. The reviews are to inform the government if the tribunal's mandate continues to be relevant to the goals of the Government of Ontario, if the tribunal is carrying out the activities and operations required in its mandate and if the functions of each tribunal are best performed by the tribunal, or whether they might be better performed by a ministry, another agency or entity. Mandate reviews were conducted for the CICB, CFSRB/CRB and OSETs in fiscal year 2015-16. The mandate reviews for LTB and SBT were conducted in fiscal year 2016-17. The mandate review for HRTO is scheduled for 2018.

Many people today expect to be able to connect with the government anytime, anywhere, on any device. SJTO will continue to streamline technology processes and solutions to maintain, or increase access to justice while carrying out our mandate. Potential funding constraints may however, delay modernization of IT processes and solutions.

All SJTO adjudicators are Order-in-Council (OIC) appointments and are subject to the rules and requirements set out in the Agencies and Appointments Directive. Under the directive, the maximum term for which a person may be appointed to a specific adjudicative position within a tribunal is 10 years. This directive was introduced in 2006 which means a high number of SJTO adjudicators reach their maximum term during 2016-18. SJTO has implemented a plan to lessen the impact of this turnover, however, a number of experienced adjudicators are seeking other opportunities before their final term expires. SJTO is actively monitoring the movement of its adjudicators to ensure that it continues to have the appropriate adjudicative and subject area expertise during the transition period and beyond.

Internal Factors

Since SJTO was established as a cluster, one of its priorities has been to co-locate offices in downtown Toronto. In the fall 2016, SJTO co-located the tribunals and offices located in downtown Toronto to 25 Grosvenor Street. While maintaining a regional presence in offices throughout the province continues to be an important element of our service delivery, being located together in Toronto is a crucial step in achieving the full potential of clustering and will enable us to share knowledge and experience in a modern, accessible space designed to meet the diverse needs of staff, adjudicators and the public. Co-location will provide opportunities for sharing of resources and expertise, result in additional lease savings and reduce space costs by sharing hearing and mediation rooms. The LTB's Toronto South office and hearing/mediation rooms will co-locate to 25 Grosvenor in 2018.

A large proportion of the population is retiring and to ensure business continuity, SJTO is continuing to review the impact of retirements over the next few years including the OIC ten year rule and working to ensure an effective knowledge transfer process is in place. SJTO regularly reviews vacancies across the organization and uses proactive recruitment practices to guarantee that SJTO has the best-skilled people in the right roles to meet its goals.

SJTO will continue to implement initiatives to improve access to SJTO services. SJTO will continue to expand its email communication and engagement with community hubs to increase access to support for SJTO users, enhance its services to the Indigenous community and continue to work with Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) through the "Steps to Justice" initiative to present information on-line through a series of guided steps. E-Filing options will be explored for the other tribunals within SJTO over the next couple of years.

SJTO Strategic Priorities & Key Initiatives

SJTO has identified five strategic directions and 18 key initiatives that directly support SJTO's mandate and mission. The key initiatives affect SJTO as a whole and involve two or more tribunals, or involve a single tribunal and have the potential for other parts of the organization to learn from or potentially adopt it in the future.

The five strategic directions are:

  1. Focus on early resolution
  2. Work in partnership with the community
  3. Enhance service to the public
  4. Strengthen member and staff capacity
  5. Harness the benefits of clustering and co-location

Implementation Plan

  1. Professional Development and Education

    SJTO's Access to Justice Unit oversees training and professional development across SJTO tribunals, including the delivery of new member training, core competency modules, and the SJTO Institute. SJTO organizes education on substantive matters affecting our tribunals and builds knowledge for members and staff about users of SJTO tribunals, communication skills, dispute resolution and adjudicative skills, and capacity to serve vulnerable parties. In addition to ongoing tribunal-specific training for new members in areas of core competency, current members receive training in advanced reason-writing. As well, staff and members engage in modules designed to increase their cultural competencies and understanding of the realities of tribunal users. For example in June 2016, SJTO professional development for members included training on Indigenous issues (specifically, conducting hearings with Indigenous parties) and transgender awareness (specifically fostering trans inclusive environments). A mentoring roundtable was also convened in June consisting of SJTO and other tribunal members in order to draw on their experiences with mentoring in different environments and begin the conversation around good mentoring practices for adjudicators and mediators. There will be further discussion around formal mentoring for members.

    SJTO also delivered plain language and accessible documents training over seven sessions to 62 SJTO staff members. In December 2016, SJTO managers attended a one day training to develop their management and communication skills. In addition, select members and staff were provided with opportunities to attend conferences in the areas of access to justice and technology (The Action Group Access to Justice week) and administrative justice (Society of Adjudicator and Regulator Annual Conference).

    Topics for upcoming professional development and education include: mental health, de-escalation of difficult situations, poverty, Aboriginal/Indigenous perspectives, and child/youth issues. In September 2017 members will attend SJTO's three day Professional Development Institute.

  2. Co-location

    With the successful completion of moving five office locations in Toronto to 25 Grosvenor as part of Phase one of the co-location initiative in the fall of 2016, SJTO is now working towards completion of the second phase of this move. Phase two of the project is scheduled to be open by the end of 2017. Phase two includes the SJTO-LTB Toronto South office, public service counters and hearing rooms for SJTO's tribunals as well as the Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario. Combining office and hearing facilities at this location enables SJTO to share knowledge and experience, and it will provide a modern, accessible space designed to meet the diverse needs of staff, adjudicators and the public. SJTO will also continue to conduct hearings for the HRTO, CFSRB and CRB at 655 Bay Street.

    The new public space, with service counters where people will be able to receive information about the tribunals, file applications, and attend hearings and mediations will be opened by early 2018.

  3. Child and Youth Division

    Five SJTO tribunals hear cases about children and youth, including those involving special needs, mental health issues, education issues and children, and youth in care: CRSRB and CRB, the OSETs (English and French), and HRTO. The CICB also hears applications for compensation from youth victims of violent crime. The SJTO has established the Child and Youth Division (CYD) to examine similarities and connections between the users of these tribunals, the nature of the cases, and the social context in which many of the disputes arise. This will inform how SJTO can achieve appropriate and consistent procedures, and build capacity within and across the tribunals. The CYD has focused on cross-appointments, maximizing expertise across the tribunals and training, and has established a Practice Advisory Committee (PAC) of key stakeholders. The CYD is developing Guiding Principles as a foundation for coordination and integration of aspects of the five tribunals.

  4. Expanded E-mail Communication

    To improve service delivery for the parties, SJTO continues to expand the use of email communication.

    SBT expanded their guidelines to allow communication with clients by email and ran three separate pilots gradually adding more participants. In total 58 legal clinics and Ontario Disability Support Program/Ontario Works (ODSP/OW) offices participated. Evaluations took place at different stages of the pilot and adjustments were made in consultation with stakeholders. With the feedback received through the evaluative process, SBT expanded their email communications to all legal clinics and Ontario Disability Support Program/Ontario Works (ODSP/OW) offices throughout the province in February 2016. SBT is developing processes and acquiring software which will enable more secure email communications. This will allow the legal clinics and ODPS/OW offices to send more documents to the SBT via email, without concerns about the security of the transmission. SBT is also planning on opening email communication with unrepresented appellants. For this, it is expected that a pilot will be launched in fiscal year 2017-18.

    CICB will continue to develop partnerships with various stakeholders to facilitate email communication and electronic transfer of case specific and hearing related information. The CICB has developed procedures and protocols to ensure the safe electronic transmission of police related material and continues to encourage the electronic submission of medical information. The CICB has begun accepting applications by fax and email. The CICB is also exploring technology to develop a secure and reliable platform to exchange case-related material. The CICB's rules of practice will be updated to include the option to communicate electronically with the parties.

    LTB is using email at all its offices for case-specific inquiries and is looking at other ways to expand the use of email. The LTB has sought stakeholder input on the use of email and starting March 1, 2017, will use e-mail for correspondence with applicants filing bulk applications (three or more applications at the same time). In this new process, the LTB will serve bulk filers the Notice of Hearing package by email, rather than by mail.

  5. Regional Offices and Shared Hearing Sites

    A SJTO Common Calendar has been in use for over a year now. This tool ensures that hearing rooms are fully utilized by allowing SJTO's schedulers to see hearing and mediation room availability for all 13 SJTO sites. These rooms along with the co-located space at 25 Grosvenor's 4th, 5th and 6th floor meeting rooms and hotel stations can now all be booked through the shared calendar. To facilitate the use of the shared calendar the following documents were distributed and posted on the site: SJTO Office Protocol for Visitors; SJTO Shared Calendar "How To" Guide; and SJTO Common Calendar Scheduling Protocol.

    SJTO continues to explore opportunities for more efficient use of hearing sites. The SJTO Shared Common Calendar Group will meet quarterly to get feedback from its users. A review of the utilization rate for hearing locations across the province and associated costs is underway. The information gathered will be used to identify opportunities for improvement.

  6. Website Development, Extranet and Library

    SJTO continues to improve and maintain content on our new website to ensure that it is up-to-date, written in plain-language, and is accessible. The CICB was integrated into the new site. By fall 2017, SJTO will convert all static PDFs (i.e. not forms) on the website to html format, which is the gold standard in on-line accessibility. SJTO is also making its PDF forms fully accessible and expects to complete this task in 2018.

    SJTO will ask for user feedback on an ongoing basis and make changes accordingly.

    SJTO is also refreshing its extranet site, reviewing and updating content to provide a valuable user-friendly resource for staff and members. SJTO is conducting a full review of the site content, identifying and deleting outdated content and looking at areas for improvement. The site platform will be updated either by upgrading the current version or selecting a new option.

  7. Electronic Case File Pilot

    This project will transition paper case files at all of SJTO's tribunals to electronic case files. This includes providing adjudicators with electronic hearing briefs for hearings and managing the electronic case file in accordance with the records retention schedule. Electronic case files will save time and reduce administrative costs associated with paper files and are easily accessible by staff and members.

    As of January 1, 2016, the CICB integrated full electronic case management and the SBT began processing new appeals electronically from beginning to end. Documents are scanned using Adobe Professional to create hearing briefs and as of September 2016 SBT members started conducting hearings using electronic hearing briefs.

    LTB currently operates with a blend of electronic and hard copy case files. Throughout 2017, the LTB will be examining business processes and requirements to develop an action plan to further transition to electronic case files.

    HRTO is reviewing its current business processes and gathering business requirements to determine how best to integrate electronic case files. The tribunal's current case management system will also be examined to determine integration and to determine the possibility of automated records management. The implementation schedule and plan for this initiative will be developed in early 2017-18.

    By the end of December 2017 the CFSRB and CRB will have electronic files for all types of applications managed within the case management system and will move the function of the Board's scheduling calendar to within the case management system. These changes will create efficiencies in CFSRB and CRB's work and allow easier access to information for vice-chairs and staff.

  8. Community Hubs

    At community hubs a variety of community-based services are available to users in the same location. SJTO is working to expand our engagement with community hubs to increase access to supports for SJTO users and access to SJTO electronic hearings.

    SBT continues to work with the Rexdale Community Clinic to schedule video conference hearings at the Rexdale Community Hub. This has proven to be a success for both represented and unrepresented appellants.

    LTB is also engaging community service providers with a base at the Rexdale Community hub to explore eviction diversion strategies for landlord and tenant disputes.

  9. Indigenous Insights Initiative (formerly, Aboriginal Initiatives)

    This project involves the SJTO working with First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FMNI) communities to identify their needs in interacting with our tribunals, including the information and services we provide and the approaches we take to resolving legal issues and disputes. SJTO has a strategic outreach plan that is designed to develop a communication network with Indigenous stakeholders that will facilitate building awareness of SJTO services in the community and develop a resource as the SJTO identifies potential opportunities for enhancing its services to FMNI communities.

    This project will involve four steps:

    1. A review of SJTO legislation, resources, information and tribunal decisions to identify current references and consideration of FNMI people and/or issues has been completed;
    2. A brief survey of the registrars and associate chairs of the SJTO member tribunals to be completed by Spring 2017;
    3. Ongoing dialogue with FNMI organizations, leadership and individuals who provide services to and represent Ontario's FNMI people, particularly those individuals who are service users of the SJTO; and
    4. The development of recommendations based on the review and discussions with the tribunals and members of the Indigenous communities initial recommendations to be completed by March 2018.

    The SJTO also supported the Agency and Tribunal Relations Division in planning a training event that was held December 2016 on the topic of "Strengthening the Relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Justice System".

  10. Electronic Hearings and Mediation

    SBT videoconference hearings began 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. Videoconferencing hearings have benefits for everyone involved. The SBT can use adjudicators from across the province, reducing travel costs for SJTO. Appellants also attend their hearing in a safe and comfortable environment. The participants use Adobe Connect (for video) and teleconference (for audio). The technology is easy to use and the picture and sound are clear. To date SBT adjudicators have conducted over 220 hearings by video. SBT plans to expand videoconferencing in 2017-18. This has proven to be a success for both represented and unrepresented appellants.

    CICB continues to schedule videoconference hearings in remote areas of the province or to facilitate party participation. CICB is looking to expand the use of videoconferences throughout the province to increase access.

    HRTO ran the first phase of a telephone mediation pilot project from November 2015 to November 2016. This phase of the project involved offering telephone mediations in cases where both the applicant and respondent had a legal representative. In fiscal 2017-18, HRTO plans to complete an evaluation of the project. The evaluation will include qualitative interviews with members who were involved in the pilot to determine what worked well and what requires improvement. Once the evaluation is complete, the finding will be used to inform phase two of the project. Phase two would include expanding the scope of the project by offering telephone mediations to parties who are self-represented.

  11. e-Filing

    Electronic Filing (e-Filing) of applications was implemented in July 2015 and provides clients with a secure and simple way to file four of the most used forms at the LTB online: L1, L2, T2 and T6. Clients are able to file applications at any time and from anywhere. e-Filing also increases the number of complete and correctly filled out applications received by using a forms wizard to guide applicants; the wizard explains fields and prompts applicants if they have missed a field. Approximately 25% of the L1, L2, T2 and T6 forms are submitted through e-Filed applications. We will be exploring enhancements to e-Filing over the next 2 years.

    SJTO will explore, in partnership with our IT partners, e-Filing options and solutions for other tribunals within the cluster for implementation in 2018.

  12. Case Management Systems

    CICB launched its new case management system in October 2016. The system has been designed to streamline and modernize the Board's case processing, scheduling and financial processes as well as to enhance and improve the Board's reporting capabilities. The Board's legacy system was decommissioned in November 2016.

    The case management system project also includes the development of business cases to improve or replace case management systems at HRTO and LTB. In 2017, LTB and HRTO teams will be working closely with our IT partners, mapping out the requirements for the new case management system(s), looking at solution options and potential procurement strategies. Long range goal is to go live with a case management system(s) in 2018-19.

  13. Early Resolution Initiatives

    In 2015, to manage an increase in medical review appeals, the SBT launched a pilot project called Medical Review Early Resolution Pilot (MRERP) to expand its Early Resolution Program to include medical review appeals. The participants in this pilot are the Ministry of Community and Social Services, select community legal clinics and the SBT. The pilot started with four participating legal clinics and currently has ten legal clinics.

    The pilot program established expedited timelines to receive submissions from the Disability Adjudication Unit, and includes a tailored early resolution opportunity. The program has proven to be a success. While hearings are usually scheduled to take place seven months after an appeal is received, cases in the program are being resolved as early as two to three months after the appeal was received. To date, 92% of the appeals that have completed participation in the MRERP have been successfully resolved.

    Based on these positive initial results, SBT is expanding the pilot to include additional regions in Ontario. The expansion will be completed in two phases with phase one being completed by July 2017 and phase two by January 2018. These expansions will target the Toronto, Niagara, Northern Eastern, Western, Durham, York and Halton regions. A program survey and review will be conducted in July 2017.

  14. Eviction Diversion

    In collaboration with community organizations and supports, LTB is exploring a more comprehensive, responsive and efficient approach to eviction application. The goal of this initiative is to help tenants to avoid eviction and landlords to avoid the cost of eviction proceedings. This pilot project is being explored in London with a community organization for homeless individuals and those with mental health challenges; and with the Rexdale Community Hub with a legal clinic, community mediation service and other community supports.

  15. Case Management Hearings (T2 and T6 Applications)

    LTB continues to develop and implement changes to its scheduling model to improve timeliness and streamline processes. Case Management Hearings (CMH) provide an opportunity for parties to explore settlement with an LTB Dispute Resolution Officer, prior to a formal merits hearing before a Board Member (adjudicator). Where parties are unable to resolve all issues in dispute, the Dispute Resolution Officer makes directions to streamline the merits hearing process.

    LTB piloted CMHs for all T2 and T6 applications at two of its regional offices (Toronto South and Southern), and will be considering recommendations for next steps from its CMH working group, as well as feedback from stakeholders. Recommendations include but are not limited to: early access to duty counsel (before the CMH), need for training to improve direction to parties for merits hearing, reducing the adjournment rate of merits hearings and developing measures of success. LTB will track CMH outcomes rigorously for a specific period to determine appropriate next steps on the CMH initiative.

  16. Orders from the Bench

    The LTB began pilot testing the issuance of Orders from the Bench in October 2015 in three of its regional offices (South Western, Toronto North and Central). Two types of orders were developed (consent payment plans and orders for withdrawal, discontinuance and abandonment). The Orders from the Bench initiative improved access to fair and timely dispute resolution, allowing parties to receive their Order on the same day as the proceeding, improving timeliness of service and reducing staff time and costs of order production. When the pilot began, orders were issued manually; now Members are using portable printers in the hearing room to facilitate the process and produce more professional looking orders. Next steps involve implementing across the Board and expansion to other order types.

  17. Guided Self Help Project

    This project between the SBT and several legal clinics allows participating legal clinics to serve more clients. In the past the legal clinics would provide in-person representation at SBT hearings however, with this project, the clinics do not provide in-person representation at SBT hearings (except in a small number of cases where the client would be unable to participate without representation). Instead, they provide a self-help model. This starts with the clinic conducting an initial interview with the client to assess the case and provide advice. If appropriate, they will assist with filing the internal review, the appeal to the SBT and will provide letter(s) to medical practitioners, which will be signed by the client. Prior to the hearing, the clinic will have a pre-hearing meeting with the client and prepare submissions for the client's use, and to be provided to the SBT adjudicator. As of October 2016, SBT received 402 appeals where the appellant pursued assistance from the legal clinics and of these 141 appeals were disposed. The grant/deny rates for cases involving this self-help service are almost identical to the tribunal's overall rates, which shows that the self-help project has been a success.

  18. Steps to Justice Project

    This is a partnership between SJTO and CLEO. The project is about presenting credible and reliable information on-line through a series of guided steps. The focus of this partnership has initially been on housing. The LTB worked with CLEO to integrate some of the LTB's information with existing public legal education and information (PLEI) produced by legal clinics supporting tenants and landlords. CLEO launched Steps to Justice on January 18, 2017, with information for tenants. SJTO is currently working with the Landlord Self-Help Centre on the development of information for landlords. Once all the landlord information has been completed, the Steps to Justice content will be embedded on the LTB website. The project is expanding to include information regarding social assistance to be made available through the SBT section of the SJTO website.

Information Technology

SJTO's multi-year IT plan 2017-18 to 2018-19 provides the tools for more effective, accessible and efficient services, and sets the direction and framework for future IT investments. SJTO works with internal and external partners to implement the plan.

Looking forward, SJTO will continue to focus on consolidating IT assets, establishing business requirements for systems, identifying processes to move towards a paperless work environment, sharing IT resources and collaborating with its IT partners to improve service. SJTO's recently launched, consolidated internet site demonstrates its commitment to access to justice. SJTO is also working with its government IT partners and the other clusters on a comprehensive IT strategy.

The key initiatives in the IT plan over the next three years include: e-Filing, upgrading existing or implementing new case management systems for LTB and HRTO, consolidation of SJTO's call center, development of electronic case files, enhancing the consolidated website to increase accessibility and enhance stakeholder engagement; improving the HRTO online application form; exploring the potential to align and coordinate IT initiatives with legal clinics and external service providers; consolidating IT assets (e.g. MFDs / Printers, file print servers moved to purpose built government data centres), refreshing IT assets with ones that better support flexibility in how and where work is conducted (laptops and mobile technology), analyzing the possible impacts of SJTO's co-location on the cluster's IT assets and projects; and working with the government's IT providers to increase services and reduce IT expenditure.

Performance Measures

Service excellence is a priority for SJTO. Pursuant to the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act every tribunal or cluster must develop, and make public, service standards.

SJTO continues to be committed in meeting its service standards and assesses them regularly to see how it can improve efficiency and transparency. An action plan is in place to help the cluster work towards meeting its service standards which includes increasing the number of hearings, implementing early resolution dispute resolution processes, increasing resources where appropriate and streamlining business processes.

The SJTO strives to achieve its services standards and has removed the qualifier that its service standards will be met 80% of the time.

The LTB is proposing to change its service standards to more accurately reflect case complexity and increase transparency.

The LTB currently makes two service standards available to the public:

Consistent with the SJTO policy, these two LTB service standards have been revised to remove reference to achievement of the standards "80% of the time". This shift is intended to make our service standards more transparent to the public by better communicating realistic timeframes for application resolution.

Recognizing that the time to schedule, hear and issue an order with respect to a particular application is impacted by the complexity of that application, the LTB proposes a shift from the single service standard (25 days to hearing/ days to order) to two publically available categories, based on complexity (note: a third category will be tracked, but will remain internal at this time).

Category #1
L1 - Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-payment of Rent and to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes and L9 - Application to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes applications – Approx. 64% of LTB applications filed

Category #2
All other landlord-initiated applications and all tenant-initiated applications (excluding L5 - Application for an Above Guideline Increase and A4s - Application to Vary the Amount of a Rent Reduction) – Approx. 36% of LTB applications filed

NOTE: the Board needs to further assess the third category (L5 - Application for an Above Guideline Increase and A4s - Application to Vary the Amount of a Rent Reduction applications) as current service standards are not being met. The Board needs to assess the internal and external factors which impact upon this standard, implement measure to address those issues, and determine a realistic standard prior to publication of that standard. L5/A4 applications: Rent increase above the guideline/vary rent reduction amount (<1% of LTB applications filed)

The results reported below are for the third quarter of fiscal year 2016-17 (October 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016).

Human Capital Planning

SJTO is committed to being an organization where people want to work and feel inspired to contribute and innovate. The SJTO will continue to build and cultivate an inclusive, flexible diverse and healthy work environment.

Employee engagement initiatives will continue to be an on-going priority in maintaining and achieving organizational goals and enhancing employee satisfaction. In 2016-17 SJTO implemented employee recognition programs such as e-cards which were recommended by the SJTO's employee recognition working group. These initiatives are part of SJTO's employee engagement plan which also includes the Kudos Employee Recognition Program which was launched in December 2016 and job shadow program. SJTO also supports developing its employee skills by providing career development opportunities; conducting regular meetings and training of staff and managers.

SJTO will review the results of the 2016-17 employee engagement survey to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. The survey results will also be shared with staff and adjudicators.

SJTO also implemented in 2016 a flexible work arrangement guideline which supports and encourages flexibility in employee work arrangements and scheduled hours of work where possible and practical without compromising the efficiency and effectives of the cluster. Flexible work arrangements benefit the organization by increasing the SJTO's ability to attract, retain, and encourage high quality, high performing employees at a time when a significant proportion of the workforce is retiring and many new employees are entering the workforce. Flex work arrangement will reduce absenteeism, increase employee engagement, help employees to reconcile work demands with family issues (children, elder care, personal health, etc.) and other lifestyle pursuits (education, community work, etc.). Approximately 22% of employees and 2% of managers at the SJTO are participating in the flexible work arrangements. The current agreements expire in May 2017. The flex work arrangement will be reviewed in early 2017-18 to assess its effectiveness and based on the review the agreements may likely be extended into for another year.

Staff Numbers

SJTO is led by an Executive Chair with an FTE complement of 458.15: 365.15 staff, 93 full-time adjudicators and 92 part-time adjudicators.

Organizational Chart

Organizational Chart

Initiatives Involving Third Parties

The SJTO does not have initiatives involving financial contracts with a third party to deliver its core service.

Communications

Communications Goals

SJTO communications support the mission, mandate and values of the organization by:

External Communications Activities

These activities support communication with external stakeholders – SJTO's users and those who support them, i.e. associations, other branches of government, legal clinics and community groups.

Internal Communications Activities

These activities support communication with SJTO staff and members.

Multi-Year Accessibility, Accommodation and Diversity Plan

2016/17 – 2018/19

SJTO is committed to building an inclusive work environment that reflects Ontario's diversity and embeds barrier-free policies, processes and services within our organization. SJTO values the capacity and strength that diversity brings to our organization.

SJTO's Multi-Year Accessibility and Accommodation Plan 2013/14 to 2015/16 outlined initiatives to identify, prevent and remove barriers to accessibility, and identified the steps to comply with requirements in the Accessibility for Ontario with Disabilities Act (AODA).

SJTO's Multi-Year Diversity Plan 2013/14 to 2015/16 included initiatives such as incorporating inclusion related commitments into performance plans, providing learning opportunities for staff in the areas of diversity and inclusion, finding opportunities to expand candidate pools during recruitment, and conducting surveys to measure results and identify gaps.

SJTO's Multi-Year Accessibility, Accommodation and Diversity Plan for 2016/17 to 2018/19 brings together diversity and accessibility and accommodation. This plan builds on the successes of the previous plans. Over the next 3 years SJTO will continue to build an inclusive work environment that is diverse and accessible with a focus on the following areas:

People: Supporting the continuous learning of members and staff in recognizing and accepting our unique differences

Processes: Reviewing policies and processes to remove barriers to inclusion

Services: Continuing to provide or improve services and service delivery to ensure that it is inclusive, fair and responsive




Three-Year Financial Plan

Fiscal Year 2016–17

Notes:
* SJTO's allocation is $50,846,700 a constraint of 2.7% was applied to the allocation; revised allocation is $49,460,200.
** Operating pressure due to constraint, changes to compensation awards from previous years not funded and underfunding in benefits; pressure in T&C and Services offset by savings in S&E.
*** Transfer Payments pressure due to CICB application increase and an adjustment to the award rate.
*** As of Q3 CICB deposited $157,578 in the consolidated revenue fund for monies recovered by applicants through civil actions, pursuant to s.26(5.1) of the CVCA.

Fiscal Years 2017–18 to 2019–20

Notes:
* TBS introduced Initiatives Constraint in fiscal year 2015–16. Initiatives Constraints are major horizontal transformational initiatives with the potential for significant impact on meeting fiscal targets and/or improving outcomes.

Accrued Liability Account – CICB



The periodic payments accrued liability balance as at March 31, 2017 is forecasted to be $18,600,304, which is calculated as the 20-year liability accrual for periodic payment obligations from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2037.

Operating Expenditure

SJTO aims to operate within its budget by managing workload and prioritizing initiatives and policy changes.

Revenue

The LTB collects approximately $11.6 million per year, primarily from application filing fees. A small amount of revenue is generated through sales of photocopies, copies of hearing recordings, etc. There are no filing fees for the other tribunals in SJTO. Revenue received by SJTO is transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The LTB application fees increased on January 16, 2017. Most application fees are increasing by approximately 10%. Tenant application fees have not increased since the LTB was established in 1998. Landlord application fees were last increased in 2009. People with a low income can request a fee waiver and applications filed through LTB e-File will receive a discount on the new fee.

Transfer Payment

The CICB receives transfer payment funding to cover victim compensation awards paid out for new cases received and awarded within the current fiscal year, as well as for the payment of new cases received in-year, but not paid out until future years. The latter is deposited into an accrued liability account. Transfer payment funding also covers periodic payments and medical expenses paid directly to service providers over the course of the fiscal year.

The CICB must ensure a sufficient balance in its accrued liability account at the beginning of each fiscal year in order to pay out its current and future compensation award obligations. Separate accrued liability accounts are maintained for CICB's future payment obligations for Lump Sum Awards and Periodic Payments.




July 2018
sjto.ca