2021/22 – 2023/24
Tribunals Ontario
Business Plan

Table of Contents


Section 1: Executive Summary

The Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act (Ontario) (“ATAGAA”) requires Tribunals Ontario to prepare a Business Plan annually. This document sets out the Business Plan for Tribunals Ontario for the three fiscal years commencing April 1, 2021 and ending on March 31, 2024.

Tribunals Ontario is a group of 14 adjudicative tribunals with a mandate to resolve and decide matters relating to safety, licensing, land, and social justice. Tribunals Ontario is led by an Executive Chair, who also assumes the powers, duties and functions legislatively assigned to the chair of each constituent tribunal. The Executive Chair is accountable to the Minister (Attorney General) for the performance of Tribunals Ontario in fulfilling its mandate. All tribunals benefit from the coordination and sharing of resources, expertise, best practices, processes, and administrative and professional development support.

While under the leadership of the Executive Chair, each tribunal maintains its legislative mandate and remains independent in its decision-making. Decisions of tribunals are made by adjudicators who are appointed for fixed terms by Orders-In-Council made by the Lieutenant Governor-In-Council on the recommendation of the Executive Chair, Minister and Cabinet. Adjudicators report to the Executive Chair.

The organization is also led by an Executive Director, who is responsible for supporting the Executive Chair in the implementation of Tribunals Ontario's policies and operational decisions. The Executive Director is accountable to the Deputy Attorney General for the management of Tribunals Ontario's operations. Staff are Ontario Public Servants and report to the Executive Director.

Diversity of our adjudicators and staff ensures the organization has the knowledge, expertise and experience to fulfill its mandate. It is the skill and commitment of our adjudicators and staff that ensure fairness and excellent service delivery to meet the needs of the public we serve.

The tribunals hold proceedings and promote the early resolution of a multitude of matters using a variety of dispute resolution methods.

Tribunals Ontario continues to work towards the common goal of early resolution by focusing on leveraging digital and shared service models using education and technology tools.

Key Achievements

Tribunals Ontario completed several projects to effectively and efficiently serve those who came before its tribunals including:

COVID-19 Emergency Management

Tribunals Ontario has focused upon building a safe and accessible operating model during a time when mobility throughout the province has been restricted. Safety measures were put in place to allow critical services to continue in office locations, while the remainder of services were adapted for delivery from remote locations. While in-person service counters have remained closed for public safety reasons, all other services are continuing to be delivered remotely enabling access to justice throughout the province.

Digital-first Approach

Tribunals Ontario is implementing a digital-first approach to meet the needs of Ontarians. This approach is designed to efficiently enable even greater access to justice across the province, while ensuring that the needs of parties and the public are accommodated where required. On November 30, 2020 Tribunals Ontario introduced a new practice direction to provide guidance with regard to the digital first principle in scheduling proceedings. All matters will proceed as written or electronic hearings with two exceptions: if a party can establish that an in-person hearing is required as an accommodation for an Ontario Human Rights Code-related need, or; where a party can establish that the hearing format will result in an unfair hearing.

Public Appointments

The management of the organization’s public appointments was centralized to streamline the approach to recruitment, performance management, resources and asset allocation.

Adjudicators are appointed in accordance with a competitive merit-based process. Since April 1, 2020, the government has appointed Associate Chairs to the Social Benefits Tribunal, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Child and Family Services Review Board and Custody Review Board, Ontario Special Education Tribunal (English), Ontario Special Education Tribunal (French), Ontario Parole Board, Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, Landlord and Tenant Board, Animal Care Review Board and Fire Safety Commission. By December 17, 2020, the government has appointed to Tribunals Ontario: 79 new adjudicators and reappointed 31 existing adjudicators. In addition, 4 new appointments and 2 reappointments were made between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020 for tribunals that moved over to Ontario Land Tribunals.

Achieving a full complement of adjudicator has been identified as one of Tribunal Ontario’s top priorities. Tribunals Ontario will continue to work diligently with the government to address the need for the appointment of a full complement of adjudicators.

Stakeholder Relationships

Tribunals across the organization have implemented plans to engage and consult with stakeholders. This has taken many forms, including participating in virtual meetings to requesting written feedback on proposed changes. Tribunals Ontario will continue to encourage and promote open dialogue with stakeholders in order to effectively serve the public and provide access to justice.

Access to Records

Tribunals Ontario has developed a new Access to Records Policy. Tribunals Ontario is guided by the open court principle and is committed to transparency, accountability and accessibility in its decision-making and operations.

Accessibility and Accommodation

Tribunals Ontario has developed a new Accessibility and Accommodation Policy. The policy was developed in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and underscores Tribunals Ontario’s commitment to treating all persons with dignity and respect and in a manner that promotes independence.

New Tribunals Ontario Website

Tribunals Ontario has updated its website by consolidating the three websites of the former divisions into one for all tribunals within the organization. This change provides a one-window portal into the organization, and it simplifies and streamlines a user’s experience.

Accountability Documents

All public and governance accountability documents required under the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009 (ATAGAA) have been developed, approved and made available to the public on the Tribunals Ontario website.

Looking Ahead

Tribunals Ontario is focused on delivering excellence in dispute resolution services. To achieve this, Tribunals Ontario has established three strategic directions: Digital Modernization Strategy, People First Strategy and User Experience Strategy.

Some highlights from our three strategic directions are:

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Section 2: Mandate

Mandate

Tribunals Ontario is a group of 14 adjudicative tribunals with a mandate to resolve and decide matters arising from over 60 statutes relating to safety, licensing, land, and social justice.

Mission

Tribunals Ontario will deliver administrative justice in a fair, independent, effective and efficient manner. We promote public confidence through integrity and excellence, and by being accessible, accountable and responsive.

Vision

Tribunals Ontario will optimize dispute resolution through modern, new ways of service delivery.

Core Values

Tribunals Ontario is guided by the following four core values:

Accessibility

Publications, communications and facilities will provide full and equitable access. Practices and procedures will be designed to promote informed and meaningful participation, and support diversity and inclusion.

Accountability

High quality services are delivered consistently and with regard to value for money, resulting in a fair and accessible experience for parties, stakeholders, staff and adjudicators.

Integrity

Staff and adjudicators will act with honesty and with professionalism, exhibiting the highest standards of public service.

Fairness

Proceedings will be conducted impartially, and parties will have a reasonable opportunity to be heard. Decisions will be principled and based on the facts, the applicable law and the merits of the case.

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Section 3: Overview of Programs and Activities

Tribunals Ontario uses a variety of dispute resolution methods and conducts different types of events, including full hearings, case management conferences, pre-hearings, motion hearings and mediation sessions to resolve party disputes. The tribunals process the files from intake, through to a hearing (if required), and issue decisions, orders and recommendations resulting from settlements, hearings and mediations.

The specific mandates for the 14 constituent tribunals are set out below.

The Animal Care Review Board (ACRB) resolves disputes and conducts hearings regarding animal welfare, including hearing appeals of orders and decisions of the Chief Animal Welfare Inspector and other animal welfare inspectors. When reviewing appeals and applications, the welfare of any animal involved is the ACRB’s main priority.

The Assessment Review Board (ARB) adjudicates applications and appeals on property assessments, classifications and tax matters.

The Child and Family Services Review Board (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.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) assesses and awards financial compensation to victims of violent crime committed in Ontario and to 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 crime.

In April 2019, the Government of Ontario announced the wind down of the CICB. The CICB continued to receive applications until September 30, 2019. All applications received by September 30, 2019 will be processed and adjudicated before the CICB ceases operations.

The Custody Review Board (CRB) reviews placement decisions regarding young persons being held in detention or custody and makes recommendations to the Provincial Director regarding the placement of youth.

The Fire Safety Commission (FSC) resolves disputes and conducts hearings regarding fire safety matters, including orders made by inspectors or the Fire Marshal for repairs, alterations or installations to a building, structure or premises.

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

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) resolves applications related to residential tenancy disputes and eviction disputes in non-profit housing co-operatives filed under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). LTB is also mandated to provide information to landlords and tenants about their rights and obligations under the RTA.

The Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) adjudicates applications and resolves disputes concerning compensation claims and licensing activities regulated by the provincial government, including the activities of delegated administrative authorities. The LAT is currently comprised of two main divisions: General Service (LAT-GS) and Automobile Accident Benefits Service (LAT-AABS).

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) adjudicates applications, conducts investigations and resolves disputes regarding the oversight and provision of policing services. This includes hearing appeals of police disciplinary decisions, conducting investigations and inquiries into the conduct of chiefs of police, police officers and members of police services boards.

In March 2019, the Ontario government passed the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, which introduced many changes to the oversight of policing in the province. The OCPC was not part of the new framework of oversight and will be dissolved after an appropriate transition period. Matters will be heard by the Ontario Police Arbitration and Adjudication Commission.

The Ontario Parole Board (OPB) makes parole decisions for applicants serving a sentence of less than two years in a provincial correctional institution. The OPB also decides applications for temporary absences from a correctional institution for greater than 72 hours.

The Ontario Special Education Tribunals - English and French (OSETs) hear appeals from parents who have been unable to resolve disputes with school boards respecting the identification and placement of exceptional pupils.

The Social Benefits Tribunal (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.

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Section 4: Environmental Scan and Risks

External Factors

COVID-19

The COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted individuals, families and businesses across the province. This unprecedented event has resulted in a variety of socio-economic hardships such as inability to pay rent, higher unemployment, greater reliance on social assistance, increasing reports of discrimination and restrictions on inter-facility movement for youth. The complexity of the pandemic could have long-lasting impacts on matters that appear before Tribunals Ontario’s constituent boards and tribunals for years to come.

To mitigate the challenges brought on by the pandemic, all levels of government introduced new programs, policies and legislation to ensure the necessary resources are in place to protect the health and safety of Ontarians and restart the economy. These changes have resulted in temporary decreases in applications for social assistance appeals, human rights discrimination, residential tenancies, and matters for children, youth and families. It is expected that while some applications will return to pre-pandemic levels, there may be a greater increase in some types of applications once the measures put in place by governments expire.

COVID-19 has disrupted Tribunals Ontario’s previous operating model. It has created challenges in delivering services and requiring our tribunals to adjust quickly. In response to COVID-19, Tribunals Ontario is implementing a digital-first approach to meet the needs of Ontarians, while continuing to provide access to justice, and enhance the quality of dispute resolution services. Most staff and adjudicators are working remotely while staff performing critical work associated with mail and fee processing are going into the office. Pre-pandemic, many hearings were in-person. Tribunals are now conducting video, telephone and written hearings where feasible. A videoconference guide has been developed and posted online to help participants prepare for a videoconference hearing. Tribunals Ontario is continuing to refine its digital-first approach to meet the needs of Ontarians.

Tribunals Ontario will continue to provide accommodation to vulnerable and marginalized applicants by scheduling in-person or other alternate formats on a case-by-case basis. In-person or other alternate hearing formats may be provided if a party can establish that an in-person hearing is required as an accommodation for an Ontario Human Rights Code-related need or where a party can establish that the hearing format will result in an unfair hearing.These proceedings will adhere to strict health and safety measures to protect staff, adjudicators and Ontarians.

Suspending Limitation Periods

The Government of Ontario’s Emergency Order made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act retroactive to March 16, 2020, affected proceedings before all tribunals as timelines for proceedings were suspended. On August 20, 2020, the government announced the Emergency Order would be lifted on September 14, 2020 and suspended limitation periods and procedural timelines would resume that day.

March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update

On March 25, 2020, the government released Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update). In the economic update, the government announced the postponement of the 2021 property tax reassessment, which impacts the work of the Assessment Review Board (ARB). This postponement has resulted in a five-year assessment cycle, which could result in either a three-year cycle or an adjusted four-year cycle starting in 2022.

Legislative, Regulatory and Policy Changes

Each of the constituent boards and tribunals at Tribunals Ontario is established by statute. The jurisdiction of those tribunals is subject to change over time as the government updates policy, regulations and legislation in order to better meet the evolving needs of the people of Ontario. Tribunals Ontario advises the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) of the potential impacts to process, resource needs and service delivery when changes to jurisdiction are identified.

Assessment Review Board (ARB)

The Ministry of Finance has amended regulation so that the 2021 tax year would have a valuation date of January 1, 2016.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB)

The CICB expects to complete adjudication of all applications in fiscal 2021-2022, following which the board will be dissolved by way of regulation. The CICB continues to work with MAG on matters arising from the enactment of Schedule 11 to the Protecting What Matters Most Act (Budget Measures), 2019 and to ensure a smooth dissolution.

Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)

On July 21, 2020, Bill 184 received Royal Assent, which amends the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA). While some amendments to the RTA came into effect on Royal Assent, others will take effect upon proclamation. Included in these amendments are significant expansions of the LTB’s jurisdiction. For example, the LTB’s expanded jurisdiction will:

Amendments to the RTA are expected to create an increased workload in both administration and adjudication as the LTB’s expanded jurisdiction will result in an increased number of applications to be processed and adjudicated. Significant changes will be required for operations as a result of the RTA amendments including forms, rules, guidelines, and practice directions.

Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT)

On July 14, 2020, the Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2019 was passed. Once proclaimed, the Act will overhaul Ontario’s new home warranty and protection program and the Tarion Warranty Corporation, which could affect the LAT’s jurisdiction related to resolving appeals of warranty claim decisions.  It will also add a new type of appeal to be resolved by the LAT, namely the enrolment by builders and vendors of new homes into the warranty plan.

On March 4, 2020, the Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2019 was passed. Once proclaimed, the Act will update the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 to broaden the role of the LAT to resolve appeals related to the Real Estate Council of Ontario’s Discipline Committee orders and administrative penalties.

Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC)

On March 26, 2019, the government passed the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, which introduced changes to the oversight of policing in Ontario.

Under the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019, which was passed but has not yet been proclaimed into force, the OCPC is continued until the regulations provide for its dissolution. The OCPC will work with MAG to ensure a smooth transition.

Ontario Parole Board (OPB)

In response to COVID-19, amendments to Regulation 778 under the Ministry of Correctional Services Act allows corrections officials to authorize temporary absences greater than 72 hours in duration. If an application for temporary absence is referred to the OPB by the Ministry of the Solicitor General, a further amendment permits the Board to conduct hearings by electronic or written means.

A second regulatory amendment allows the OPB to conduct parole hearings by electronic or written means, rather than solely in-person, providing alternate options for hearings.

Internal Factors

Appointments

Tribunals Ontario requires the appointment of a full complement of adjudicators to decide current and future cases, meet legislated time requirements and service standards. This includes the appointment of Associate Chairs and new adjudicators, and the reappointment of full-time and part-time adjudicators with terms expiring in the coming year. The government has appointed Associate Chairs to CICB, HRTO, LTB, OPB, SBT and ACRB/FSC. In addition, as of October 1, 2020, the LTB had the highest number of adjudicators ever appointed with 38 full-time and 36 part-time adjudicators.

Achieving a full complement of adjudicators has been identified as one of Tribunal Ontario’s top priorities. Tribunals Ontario will continue to work diligently with the government to address the need for the appointment of a full complement of adjudicators.

Digital-First Approach

Building on the digital services implemented during the pandemic, Tribunals Ontario is moving forward with a digital-first approach to meet the diverse needs of Ontarians, increase access to justice, and enhance the quality of dispute resolution services. This digital transformation includes developing an online payment portal to enable clients to make payments more easily, an integrated digital solution to manage and track cases, one unified website, expanding online services such as e-filing of applications and using email to communicate with the tribunals. These changes will transform Tribunals Ontario services, so they are accessible, efficient and effectively meet the needs of the people of Ontario.

Updates to Rules, Practice Direction and Guidelines

In response to COVID-19 and legislative changes, all tribunals are reviewing and where necessary working to revise and update practice directions, guidelines and rules to develop operational practices such as digital hearing formats and the use of digital options to communicate with parties.

Stakeholder Engagement

Tribunals Ontario is committed to stakeholder engagement and is proactively engaging through virtual stakeholder engagement sessions to solicit feedback. Tribunals Ontario’s constituent boards and tribunals are engaging with stakeholders to improve services, expand access to justice, and support the timely resolution of matters.

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Section 5: Strategic Directions and Implementation Plan

Tribunals Ontario is focused on delivering excellence in dispute resolution services. While the health and safety of staff and adjudicators as well as the individuals that engage with our Tribunals is paramount, we remain focused on our vision of becoming recognized as being among the best adjudicative tribunals in North America. To achieve this, there are three strategic directions established for the April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2024 period: digital modernization, people first, and user experience.

Digital Modernization Strategy

The delivery of public services has been shifting for several years from in-person services at physical locations to digital services accessed on-line. Prior to the global pandemic, Tribunals Ontario was also shifting its dispute resolution services away from in-person proceedings to remote written, telephone or video proceedings.

The realities of the global pandemic have accelerated the delivery of on-line services throughout the private and public sectors and this is also true at Tribunals Ontario. It is a high priority for Tribunals Ontario to modernize its digital tools in order to provide first class remote dispute resolution services to the people of Ontario. This digital modernization will:

People First Strategy

COVID-19 has changed how, when and where we work, and staff and adjudicators in the organization have worked tirelessly to ensure service continuity in the administrative justice sector. The people first strategy will target staff and adjudicator experience in the workplace with an aim to improve inclusivity and accountability from the front line to the senior leadership.

User Experience Strategy

Every person who engages with the justice system should have the opportunity to be heard, and to participate in a process that is safe, fair, transparent and timely. While every person who engages with the justice system may not agree with the final resolution, they should feel that they were served respectfully, that they understood the process, and that the experience was user-friendly. The user experience strategy will:

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Section 6: Staffing, Human Resources, and Compensation Strategy

Tribunals Ontario is committed to building a diverse, dynamic, effective and respectful workplace and supports ongoing learning and development. Tribunals Ontario actively maintains its staff succession plan to address turnover and to identify and develop potential successors. Tribunals Ontario follows the OPS directives for recruitment and uses the Inclusion Lens throughout the competition process to ensure its hiring practices are fair and inclusive.

Tribunals Ontario has a full time equivalent (FTE) allocation of 609 staff and 188 full-time Order-in-Council (OIC) positions. Tribunals Ontario does not set its own compensation levels. Management and staff are covered by the OPS Compensation Directive. Compensation for Order-in-Council (OIC) appointees is set by the Treasury Board and approved by Cabinet. This is laid out in the Agencies & Appointments Directive.

On June 17, 2020 the government announced the creation of a new cluster, Ontario Land Tribunals (OLT), effective July 1, 2020. The new cluster will help ensure Ontario’s land tribunals have the dedicated support and resources needed to resolve disputes fairly and efficiently. As a result of the creation of the new cluster, seventy-five (75) staff FTE and thirty-one (31) full-time OIC FTE will be transferred to OLT through the Multi-Year Planning effective March 31, 2021.

Tribunals Ontario Human Resource Allocation (as of November 4, 2020)

Group Tribunals Ontario
Number of Positions
Ontario Land Tribunals
Number of Positions
Executive Management Group 4 1
Crown Counsel (CC5) 1 1
Association of Law Officers of the Crown (ALOC) 18 3
Management Compensation Plan (MCP) 43 8
Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario (AMAPCEO) 103 15
Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) 364 48
Excluded 1 N/A
Sub-Total Staff 534 76
Order-in-Council (OIC) Full-time Members* 157 31
Total 691 107

* In addition, Tribunals Ontario had a complement of 118 OIC Part-time members and Ontario Land Tribunals had 9 OIC Part-time members.

Tribunals Ontario Organization Chart (as of November 4, 2020)

Tribunals Ontario organizational chart
Description of Tribunals Ontario organizational chart

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Section 7: Information Technology (IT) / Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) Plan

Integrated Digital Solution

Citizens, businesses and other participants in the justice process have come to expect certain base levels of service, particularly in the form of online information and online self-service.

Over the next reporting period, Tribunals Ontario will work to replace the legacy case management systems with a single digital solution that includes a common case management system and integrated online dispute resolution functionality. The integrated digital solution will focus on four key elements:

The benefits of this new approach include:

Digital First

In the previous reporting period, Tribunals Ontario committed to a ‘digital first’ strategy, with key initiatives that will ultimately improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services provided. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the implementation of this strategy and highlighted new and innovative ways of delivering services.

The following initiatives represent the core focus over the next three years and set the direction and framework for future investments.

Videoconference Hearings

Prior to COVID-19, some tribunals relied heavily on in-person hearings as the key format to deliver service. COVID-19 required the organization to re-think how it would ensure access to justice during the pandemic, quickly pivoting to a videoconference platform. As a result, Tribunals Ontario continued to deliver its critical services even as administrative buildings and hearing centres were closed across the province.

Early results have proven the videoconference format successful. In fact, this new hearing format will become the default format for parties. Further information can be found in our updated Practice Direction on Hearing Formats. This Practice Direction outlines Tribunals Ontario's approach to determining the format of the hearing that will be held, and how a party can request a different hearing format. Electronic hearings will form the basis of the digital-first strategy over the next reporting period.

Modernized Web Presence

Over the past year, Tribunals Ontario has updated its web presence by consolidating the existing internet and intranet websites for all tribunals within the organization. This change provides for a one-window portal into the organization, and it simplifies and streamlines a user’s experience.

Over the next three years, Tribunals Ontario will continue to enhance its web presence with a focus on:

Payment Portal

Historically, a tribunal applicant would be required to provide payment either in-person at a service counter, via mail-in cheque or payment information or by fax transmission to a fax machine that is not connected to the OPS network to ensure compliance with payment card industry security requirements.

In 2021-22, Tribunals Ontario will implement an online payment portal for the Landlord and Tenant Board, Licence Appeal Tribunal, and Assessment Review Board, making it easier for applicants to submit and complete payments online.

Digitization of Mail Distribution

While incoming and outgoing mail processes are not often seen by the public, they form a critical part of how tribunals communicate with the parties and the public appearing before our tribunals. While most of Tribunals Ontario’s hearings were co-located to 15 Grosvenor St. in Toronto in 2018, incoming and outgoing mail still used many different addresses to communicate with the public. They also relied heavily on paper submissions.

Through its ‘digital-first lens’, Tribunals Ontario began to digitize mail and streamline mail addresses, making it easier to submit applications and file documents with the tribunals. Over the coming year, the organization will promote electronic communication, wherever possible, as it continues to reduce barriers to access the organization.

While the ‘journey to digital’ will require the support of both internal and external partners, Tribunals Ontario remains committed to delivering the most efficient and effective service possible, while putting Ontarians at the centre of what we do.

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Section 8: Initiatives Involving Third Parties

Tribunals Ontario does not have any initiatives that involve third parties.

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Section 9: Communication Plan

Tribunals Ontario’s communications group functions to provide a range of services and products that help the 14 tribunals and boards to deliver on their strategic objectives while maintaining strong communications with the public and stakeholders.

Communication activities include internal communications, issues management, media relations, website content development and the planning and support for tribunal and board initiatives and stakeholder engagement activities. These services help Tribunals Ontario provide stakeholders with the information relevant to them in a clear and transparent manner.

Broadly, the communications strategy aims to:

Communications Approach

Tribunals Ontario is pursuing a digital-first approach to meet the diverse needs of Ontarians and enhance the quality of dispute resolution services. As more users may rely on the Tribunals Ontario website as the first point of access for information, communication products will be developed with accessibility, transparency and equity in mind.

A Tribunals Ontario social media strategy will be developed to expand the reach and become an additional communication channel for the diverse population of stakeholders across all sectors.

Internal Communications

Tribunals Ontario has started a monthly internal newsletter to increase employee engagement and morale, and to communicate changes to staff and adjudicators. As the organization adapts to remote work, it’s become more important to have a robust internal communications strategy to keep staff and adjudicators informed and engaged on operational and strategic changes. The aim of the strategy is to provide an ongoing, clear and consistent exchange of information with staff and adjudicators.

Stakeholder Engagement

Tribunals Ontario has developed a strategy to proactively engage on its policies, practices and rules through virtual stakeholder engagement sessions. The virtual sessions will provide information to stakeholders and the public about tribunals, their caseload, procedures and jurisdiction, and to seek feedback about important changes. In addition, the Executive Chair and Associate Chairs are connecting with stakeholders by participating in virtual speaking engagements. Tribunals Ontario is committed to having ongoing engagement with our stakeholders, especially while continuing to provide remote and virtual services.

Tribunals Ontario Website

A new Tribunals Ontario website was launched to streamline three legacy cluster websites into a single portal for Tribunals Ontario. The website is a primary information and communication channel for the organization and its stakeholders. The site provides up to date, accessible and easy to understand information for all tribunals and boards. This is critical to ensure the public, self-represented parties and stakeholders understand and are aware of the relevant information they need to access services.

Tribunals Ontario is looking at further improvements to the website. This will include integrating the new solutions explorer project.

Tribunals Ontario is developing a subscription service to automate distribution of its news releases to improve how information is shared.

Media Relations

Tribunals Ontario is committed to responding to media inquiries effectively, accurately and in a timely manner. In 2019, Tribunals Ontario created a dedicated email address for all Tribunals Ontario media inquiries. While media responses will continue to be provided over email, Tribunals Ontario has added a dedicated media phone number to provide another avenue for media to contact the organization.

To increase access to news content, Tribunals Ontario is working with MAG to procure a clipping service to provide cost-efficient media monitoring and analysis, as well as content that is currently only available via subscriptions.

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Section 10: Diversity and Inclusion Plan

Tribunals Ontario is committed to building an inclusive environment that reflects Ontario's diversity and embeds barrier-free hiring policies, processes and services within the organization. Tribunals Ontario is working to identify, prevent and remove barriers to ensure the organization achieves the best outcomes for employees and the people who access services.

This focus is fundamental in developing and recruiting talent, fostering an inclusive culture, building an equitable workplace where employees understand their value through job satisfaction and employee engagement and supporting the health and wellness of the workforce.

Diversity and inclusion are defined in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) Diversity and Inclusion Blueprint as follows:

“Diversity is the range of visible and invisible qualities, experiences and identities that shape who we are, how we think and how we engage with, and are perceived by the world. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical or mental abilities, religious/spiritual beliefs, or political ideologies. They can also include differences such as personality, style, capabilities, and thoughts/perspectives.”

“Inclusion is recognizing, welcoming and making space for diversity. An inclusive OPS capitalizes on the diversity of thought, experiences, skills and talents of all of our employees.”

Developing a Diversity and Inclusion Plan that is thoughtful, modern, deliberate and aspirational is a priority for Tribunals Ontario in 2021. The following elements will be considered for inclusion in this multi-year plan:

Tribunals Ontario commits to auditing its current policies and practices to ensure it meets the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) while continuing to build the foundation for an inclusive workplace that is diverse, respectful, equitable and accessible.

The OPS Accessible Customer Service Policy and the Customer Service Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, O.Reg 191/11 require accessibility training about people with disabilities for all employees. Tribunals Ontario continues to ensure that employees and adjudicators complete the mandatory training. The training is maintained and monitored throughout the year and managers are informed when training is not complete through a ministry generated report. Employees and adjudicators are also in the process of completing the OPS Indigenous Cultural Competency training to increase knowledge, enhance self-awareness and strengthen the skills of those who work directly and indirectly with Indigenous people. This training is an important part of the Ontario Public Services’ commitment to reconciliation.

Tribunals Ontario continues to embrace diverse ideas, provide flexible work arrangements and ongoing training and professional development. Managers have created open dialogue around anti-racism, diversity and mental health in the workplace. Tribunals Ontario is committed to raising awareness and education to remove systemic barriers in the organization.

Some managers are participating on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Diverse Interview Panel Program. The program offers leaders who identify as part of an OPS under-represented group an opportunity to volunteer as a diverse panel member to promote bias and barrier-free recruitment practices and support fairness and transparency.

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Section 11: Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

Tribunals Ontario is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. Tribunals Ontario believes in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). As an organization comprised of 14 adjudicative tribunals, Tribunals Ontario will provide accommodation while maintaining impartiality and adjudicative independence.

The 2020-2023 Tribunals Ontario Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) is organized around the following standards and general requirements of the AODA:

As outlined in the MYAP over the next three years, Tribunals Ontario will focus on ensuring that our services are accessible. That means:

In establishing and maintaining its MYAP, Tribunals Ontario commits to auditing its current policies and practices, built environment, procurement processes, employment practices, and any proposed new website development to ensure that it meets the requirements of the AODA and its Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). Any potential or noted breaches will be identified and remedied.

Tribunals Ontario will provide training to employees and members on Ontario’s accessibility laws and on the Ontario Human Rights Code as it relates to people with disabilities. Training will be provided in a way that best suits the duties of employees and adjudicators.

Accessible Formats and Communication Supports

Communication supports and accessible formats will be provided, upon request, in a timely manner, to individuals who require assistance in communication such as:

Staff will consult with the client making the request to determine their accessibility needs. No additional fees will be charged to provide the alternate format. Tribunals Ontario will notify the public that it will provide accessible formats and communication supports on its website and through its published materials.

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Section 12: Three-year Financial Plan

Tribunals Ontario’s budget reflects the overall operational costs which include the Licence Appeal Tribunal – Automobile Accident Benefits Service operational costs which are fully recoverable from the insurance industry, and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board transfer payments.

Tribunals Ontario has implemented several initiatives and as it moves towards a digital by default environment, Tribunals Ontario is continuing to identify efficiencies and review its business practices and processes to further streamline operations and modernize service delivery.

Table 1: Current Year Operating Expenditures

Fiscal Year 2020-21
Operating Budget 2020-21 Budget Allocation* 2020-21 Forecast (Q2) Variance Surplus (Pressures)
Salaries and Wages
Salaries and Wages $63,322,400 $59,523,661 $3,798,739
Benefits $7,797,500 $8,333,312 $(535,812)
Other Direct Operating Expense (ODOE)
Transportation & Communications $3,262,400 $2,577,100 $685,300
Services $6,695,200 $16,752,490 $(10,057,290)
Supplies & Equipment $752,900 $459,429 $293,471
Sub-total Operating $81,830,400 $87,645,992 $(5,815,592)
Recoveries $(457,300) $(395,500) $(61,800)
Total Operating $81,373,100 $87,250,492 $(5,877,392)

Table 2: Current Year Transfer Payments

Transfer Payments 2020-21 Budget Allocation* 2020-21 Forecast (Q2) Variance Surplus (Pressure)
Transfer Payments – CICB $10,000,000 $9,000,000 $1,000,000

Table 3: Current Year Revenue

Revenue 2020-21 Budget Allocation* 2020-21 Forecast (Q2) Variance Surplus (Pressure)
Filing Fees and Sales** $22,109,600 $17,257,900 $4,851,700
Reimbursement of Expenditure LAT-AABS $17,003,400 $16,153,000 $850,400

Notes:

* Effective July 1, 2020 the new Ontario Land Tribunals cluster was formed. Fiscal year 2020-21 quarterly reporting structure remains status quo, with both Tribunals Ontario and Ontario Land Tribunals reporting through the Tribunals Ontario quarterly forecast until April 2021.

** Revenue includes a 6% fee increase effective July 1, 2020.

** ARB Assessment Year deferred resulting in a decrease in revenue for fiscal year 2020-21.

Table 4: 2021/22 – 2023/24 Operating Budget

Fiscal Years 2021/22 – 2023/24
Operating Budget 2021-22 Budget Allocation* 2022-23 Budget Allocation* 2023-24 Budget Allocation*
Salaries and Wages $49,716,655 $50,045,657 $50,322,716
Benefits $6,258,773 $6,300,981 $6,330,365
Other Direct Operating Expense (ODOE)
Transportation & Communications $2,475,501 $2,475,586 $2,475,671
Services $4,137,752 $4,138,177 $4,138,517
Supplies & Equipment $511,763 $511,847 $512,017
Sub-total Operating $63,100,444 $63,472,248 $63,779,286
Recoveries $(457,300) $(457,300) $(457,300)
Total Operating $62,643,144 $63,014,948 $63,321,986

Table 5: 2021/22 – 2023/24 Transfer Payments

Transfer Payments 2020-21 Budget Allocation* 2021-22 Budget Allocation* 2022-23 Budget Allocation*
Transfer Payments – CICB $1,500,000 $1,500,000 $1,500,000

Table 6: 2021/22 – 2023/24 Revenue

Revenue 2020-21 Budget Allocation* 2021-22 Budget Allocation* 2022-23 Budget Allocation*
Filing Fees and Sales** $21,092,200 $16,711,700 $17,713,200
Reimbursement of Expenditure LAT-AABS $16,130,500 $16,130,500 $16,035,100

Notes:

* Tribunals Ontario’s allocation decreases in fiscal year 2021-22 and out-years due to re-alignment of funding from Tribunals Ontario to Ontario Land Tribunals.

** ARB Assessment Year deferred to fiscal year 2021-22 resulting in an increase to revenue.

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Section 13: Performance Measures and Targets

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

Performance measures are designed to assist in assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of our 14 boards and tribunals. Evaluation of these indicators will not only inform decision making regarding deployment of resources, but they will clearly set out anticipated timelines so that the public can know how long they should expect it will take to move through the tribunal processes.

The measures set out below reflect those in place at the time Tribunals Ontario was formed in January 2019. During the current fiscal year, Tribunals Ontario will complete a review of the performance measures with a view to standardizing and aligning the objectives across the organization. The performance measures reported below will be confirmed, revised or replaced for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The results below are as of September 30, 2020.

Table 1: Animal Care Review Board Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
A hearing date will be scheduled within 5 business days of receipt of a completed appeal. 92% 100% 100% 100%
A hearing will take place no later than 10 business days after receipt of a completed appeal. 100% 100% 100% 100%
A decision will be issued within 30 days of the conclusion of a hearing. 67% 100% 100% 100%

Table 2: Assessment Review Board Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
General appeals will be resolved within 135 weeks of commencement date. 100% 85% 85% 85%
Summary appeals will be resolved within 40 weeks of commencement date. 93% 85% 85% 85%
Decisions will be issued within 60 days from the end of the hearing. 100% 85% 85% 85%

Table 3: Child and Family Services Review Board Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
Section 119/20 pre-hearing conferences will be scheduled within 40 calendar days after the application is deemed eligible. 37% 80% 80% 80%
Section 119/120 hearings will be scheduled within 60 calendar days after the application is deemed eligible. 75% 80% 80% 80%
Section 119/120 decisions or orders will be issued within 30 calendar days of the completion of the hearing. 67% 80% 80% 80%
Hearing for all other applications will be scheduled within 30 calendar days of receipt of the notice of application or determination of eligibility. 69% 80% 80% 80%
Decisions or Orders for all other applications will be issued within 30 calendar days after the hearing has been completed. 67% 80% 80% 80%

Table 4: Criminal Injuries Compensation Board Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
Caseload will be reduced by 8% monthly towards dissolution. 9% 8% n/a n/a
Orders will be issued within 45 days of the hearing with payment to follow within 30 days. 81% 80% n/a n/a

Table 5: Custody Review Board Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
A review will begin with a telephone call within 24 hours of receipt of an application. 100% 80% 80% 80%
Recommendations will be issued within 30 calendar days of receipt of an application. 100% 80% 80% 80%

Table 6: Fire Safety Commission Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
A hearing will be scheduled to take place within 45 days of receipt of a completed appeal. 100% 80% 80% 80%
Decisions will be released within 60 days of the final hearing event. 50% 80% 80% 80%

Table 7: Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
First mediation date offered within 150 days of the date parties agree to mediation. 0% 80% 80% 80%
First hearing date offered within 180 days of the date the application is ready to proceed to hearing. 0% 80% 80% 80%
Decisions for hearings which take 3 days or less will be issued within 90 days. 42% 80% 80% 80%
Decisions for hearings which take longer than 3 days, will be issued within 180 days. 33% 80% 80% 80%

Table 8: Landlord and Tenant Board Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
L1/L9 applications will be scheduled for hearing within 25 business days of receipt. 24% 80% 80% 80%
Decisions (Orders) for L1 and L9 applications will be issued within 4 business days at the conclusion of the final hearing. 33% 80% 80% 80%
All other LTB applications (excluding L5 and A4) will be scheduled for a hearing within 30 business days. 53% 80% 80% 80%
Decisions (Orders) for all other LTB applications (excluding L5 and A4) will be issued within 10 business days at the conclusion of the final hearing. 56% 80% 80% 80%

Table 9: Licence Appeal Tribunal (GS and AABS combined) Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
A case conference will take place within 3 months of receipt of an appeal/application. 8% 80% 80% 80%
A hearing will take place within 3 months of a case conference. 37% 80% 80% 80%
A decision will be issued within 3 months of the conclusion of the hearing. 39% 80% 80% 80%
An appeal/application will be resolved within 9 months. 77% 80% 80% 80%

Table 10: Ontario Civilian Police Commission Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
A case conference will take place within 3 months of receipt of an application or appeal. 100% 80% 80% 80%
A hearing will take place within 3 months of a case conference. 33% 80% 80% 80%
A decision will be issued within 3 months of the conclusion of a hearing. 13% 80% 80% 80%
An appeal or application will be resolved within 9 months. 13% 80% 80% 80%
Section 54(1) Approval Requests – will be processed within 5 business days of receipt of the request. 96% 80% 80% 80%

Table 11: Ontario Parole Board Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
A hearing will be convened, and a decision issued to the applicants by their parole eligibility date. 68% 80% 80% 80%

Table 12: Ontario Special Education Tribunals (English and French) Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
All appeals will be scheduled for mediation or a hearing within 120 calendar days of the response being filed. n/a 80% 80% 80%
Decisions will be issued within 90 calendar days. n/a 80% 80% 80%

Table 13: Social Benefits Tribunal Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2020-21 Actual Target 2021-22 Target 2022-23 Target 2023-24
Appeals scheduled with notice of hearing sent out no later than 30 calendar days after receipt of the appeal and the hearing date will be set no more than 180 calendar days after the date of the Notice of Hearing. 2% 80% 80% 80%
Decisions issued within 30 calendar days after the completion of the hearing. 83% 80% 80% 80%

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