French Language Services Policy


Introduction

The SJTO was designated as an adjudicative tribunal cluster under the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009 (the "Act").

Eight tribunals comprise the SJTO with the mandate to provide Ontarians with access to effective dispute resolution in a wide range of matters in the areas of social justice including: human rights, residential tenancy, social benefits entitlement, child and family services, special education and compensation for victims of violent crime.

In keeping with its core value of accessibility, and in recognition of the importance of providing access to administrative justice services for members of Francophone communities across Ontario, the SJTO is committed to the active offer of French Language Services in accordance with the French Language Services Act (the "FLSA").

Under the FLSA, the SJTO is required to communicate and provide its services in French. The organization will make the parties aware of their right to French Language Services (FLS).

The Goals

This policy is developed to facilitate the SJTO's compliance with the provisions of the FLSA and to help support the provision of quality services in French which meet the needs of the Francophone communities served by the SJTO.

The Standards

(1) Customer Service

The SJTO is committed to ensuring that FLS are clearly visible and easily accessible, publicized and of equivalent quality to services offered in English in accordance with the OPS' new guidelines on active offer of service.

SJTO tribunals must provide front line services in French. All documents provided by SJTO tribunals must be available in French. This includes all publications, forms, notices, rules, policies, and all French and bilingual file-related correspondence initiated by any of the SJTO's tribunals, as well as any electronic versions of such materials. For language of decisions, refer to section 4.

(2) Hearings and Mediations

  1. A bilingual adjudicator or mediator will be assigned to an in-person or electronic hearing or mediation when the application or appeal is submitted in French, a response is filed in French, or a party requests to participate to the proceedings in French. The request must be made as soon as possible.
  2. A French-English interpreter will be provided by the tribunal to interpret for a party or witness who does not understand the other language, except where the case relates to a service that was provided in French pursuant to s. 5(1) of the FLSA.
  3. All reasonable and necessary steps will be taken to ensure that bilingual and French language proceedings are scheduled within equivalent timeframes as other proceedings. There are circumstances, however, where there are legislative timeframes that must be met. In those circumstances, where a bilingual adjudicator or mediator is not available to conduct an in-person or electronic hearing or mediation within legislative timelines, a French-English interpreter will be provided. The tribunal may decide to adjourn the hearing or the mediation in order to provide a bilingual adjudicator or mediator if a party satisfies the tribunal that proceeding with an interpreter is likely to cause the party a prejudice.
  4. Where the matter proceeds by way of written hearing, it will be dealt with by a bilingual member.

(3) Translation of documents

The tribunal will not translate documents provided by a party.

(4) Decisions

  1. If all parties at a hearing communicate in French, the decision will be issued in French.
  2. If the parties at a hearing communicate in French and English, the decision will be issued in both languages.
  3. A tribunal may decide to translate a decision into French or English where the questions raised are of general interest.
  4. At the request of one party, despite the language of the hearing, the decision may also be issued in the other official language.

Complaints related to French Language Services:

If you have any questions about the application of the policy or you do not think that the SJTO is abiding by the terms of the policy, contact us at sjtoinfo@ontario.ca. The SJTO will investigate all complaints.




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