Code of Conduct


1. Purpose and Application

This Code of Conduct (the Code) governs the professional and ethical responsibilities of adjudicators and mediators at Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) and reflects the public trust in SJTO. SJTO adjudicators and mediators are responsible for conducting themselves in a manner consistent with the Code.

The Code complements and supplements the SJTO Conflict of Interest Rules, the Ethics Plan, the Public Service of Ontario Act, the rules of procedure and practice directions of SJTO and its tribunals, and other legal or professional obligations.

All SJTO adjudicators/mediators are responsible for maintaining the integrity, competence, and effectiveness of SJTO. SJTO is committed to: ensuring that its core values are adhered to in all proceedings; and, impartial decision making.

This Code cannot anticipate all circumstances in which SJTO adjudicators and mediators may need to exercise judgment. It is the responsibility of every SJTO adjudicator and mediator to conduct themselves ethically and professionally. SJTO adjudicators and mediators should seek direction or clarification from their ethics executive when uncertain about the appropriate standard.

The Code may be amended from time to time.

2. Defintions

"Adjudicator" is a person appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council to an SJTO tribunal. Adjudicators include the Executive Chair, alternate executive chairs, associate chairs, vice chairs, full time members and part time members.

"Mediator" is an adjudicator or any staff person working for SJTO, including dispute resolution officers and appeal resolution officers, who conducts mediation or dispute resolution proceedings at an SJTO tribunal.

"SJTO adjudicators/mediators" refers to all adjudicator and mediator positions.

"Proceeding" means:

  1. adjudicating
  2. mediating
  3. deciding the assignment of the case to an adjudicator or mediator
  4. participating in discussions of an ongoing case or issue before, or concerning, the tribunal
  5. making case management decisions or recommendations.

3. Principles of Conduct

Compliance with Laws

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must follow all applicable laws and comply with their spirit and intent.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must not commit or condone an unethical or illegal act or encourage another to do so.

Fairness

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must comply with the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice and act impartially.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must treat those who appear before them without discrimination or favouritism.
  3. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must treat each person with dignity, courtesy and respect and in a manner that builds trust and confidence in SJTO, and the administration of justice.
  4. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will conduct proceedings so that parties understand the tribunal's procedures and practices and have a reasonable opportunity for informed and effective participation in the proceeding, whether or not they are represented.

Accessibility

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will be aware and respectful of social, cultural and other differences and act in a manner that promotes an appreciation of diversity.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must be aware of barriers which may restrict access and participation in a manner contrary to SJTO's Accessibility and Accommodation Policy.

Timeliness

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must take reasonable steps to ensure that proceedings are concluded in a timely manner, avoiding unnecessary delays.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must release decisions as soon as possible after a proceeding and are expected to meet applicable timelines, policies and standards.

Quality and Consistency

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will be prepared for proceedings. They will ensure that proceedings are orderly and follow applicable rules and guidelines.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must maintain the integrity of the proceedings.
  3. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must ensure that decisions are prepared according to the tribunal's policies and guidelines, and meet the tribunal's standards for quality decision-making.
  4. SJTO adjudicators/mediators recognize the value of consistency and quality in decision-making by considering relevant facts and evidence as well as the law, jurisprudence, policies, rules and guidelines.

Transparency

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will ensure that proceedings are transparent, subject to rules or legislation that protects confidentiality.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will conduct their personal affairs and professional responsibilities in a manner that can bear close public scrutiny.

Expertise/Competence

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will be expert and current with the legislation, regulations, policies and jurisprudence that apply to the work of the tribunal(s) to which they are assigned, as well as having general familiarity with the work of all SJTO tribunals.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must participate in tribunal members' meetings and SJTO's professional development program.

Responsive Resolution

  1. Where appropriate, SJTO adjudicators/mediators will provide parties with opportunities to resolve issues before them without a formal hearing.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will ensure procedures used are appropriate and proportionate to the dispute. Where appropriate, SJTO adjudicators/mediators will employ an active adjudicative approach.

Integrity

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must act with honesty, integrity and hold high ethical standards.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must not engage in conduct that takes advantage of their position as an adjudicator/mediator.
  3. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must conduct themselves personally and professionally in a manner that supports public confidence in the administration of justice.
  4. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must act, personally and professionally, to avoid the appearance of bias.

Ethics Executive

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must follow the SJTO Conflict of Interest Rules and comply with directions given by their ethics executive.

Collegiality

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will contribute to a collegial working environment.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will demonstrate respect for the views and opinions of colleagues.
  3. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will share their knowledge and expertise with their colleagues as requested and appropriate.

Professional Activities Outside SJTO and Public Comment

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must exercise discretion and good judgment with respect to all professional associations and outside activities to ensure that they maintain the highest standards of integrity and avoid situations that may give rise to bias or appearance of bias.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must disclose outside activities to their ethics executive in a timely manner.
  3. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must obtain the prior approval of their ethics executive before serving as a director or officer of any group whose work is, or could reasonably be perceived to be, related to a matter that may come before SJTO.
  4. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must not comment publicly on another adjudicators/mediator's decision or conduct, or comment on the law, government policy or matters before any of the SJTO tribunals.

Impartiality

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must be, and should appear to be, impartial about the disputes before them.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators will approach every proceeding and every issue arising in a proceeding with an open mind, and avoid doing or saying anything to cause any person to think otherwise.
  3. When making a decision, SJTO adjudicators/mediators must apply the relevant law to the evidence presented in good faith and to the best of their ability. Reasons will be clear, concise and intelligible and provide a clear, logical path to the conclusion.
  4. The prospect of disapproval from any person, institution, or community must not deter a SJTO adjudicator/mediator from proceeding in a manner they believe is correct based on the law and the evidence.

Confidentiality

  1. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must not disclose personal information protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or contrary to the law relevant to the proceeding.
  2. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must not disclose confidential information.
  3. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must not take advantage of confidential information to obtain a personal benefit.
  4. SJTO adjudicators/mediators must not communicate with the media regarding a proceeding.

4. Undertaking

I will adhere to this Code of Conduct and commit to supporting standards contained in applicable legislation, policies or guidelines.

I will review my compliance with the Code on a regular basis.

I acknowledge that I have read and understand SJTO's Code of Conduct and agree to conduct myself in accordance with the Code.






Last updated: August 2017
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