Doug Ford appointed unqualified party loyalists to fill key tribunal spots. Now Ontarians are paying the price as wait lists swell

There have been a number of people who have been active with Tribunal Watch Ontario, an organization that advocates for the independence, excellence and resourcing of the tribunals that ordinary people in Ontario resort to on vital issues such as human rights, tenant rights and social benefits.  These tribunals are particularly important to those most vulnerable in Ontario, such as persons with disabilities.

A hard-hitting column in the Toronto Star by Martin Regg Cohn, the link below, has highlighted these issues.

Tribunal Watch has developed a proposed action plan to address this crisis.  I’ve included it below in this email.  It’s also in the detailed statement of concern, attached.  

I’m hoping that you and even better, your organization, will step up and get in touch with Doug Ford and his Attorney General, Doug Downey, in support of the action plan.

Doug Ford:

Doug Downey:

Proposed action plan :

We are seeking a commitment from the Ontario Government, the Ministry of the Attorney General, and Tribunals Ontario to ensure commitments and actions to address this crisis, by: 

1. Immediately establishing a backlog-dedicated panel of expert adjudicators, chosen through an expedited, competitive, merit-based, transparent process and assigned to resolve the thousands of applications that are stalled at Tribunals Ontario, using proactive case management, mediation and adjudication. 

2. Expediting the scheduling of cases in the backlog, while recognizing the important role of representatives such as legal clinics and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre in assisting thousands of low-income individuals who appear before the SBT, the LTB and the HRTO. This includes restoring regional-based scheduling that will benefit both sides by allowing to access to local rent support programs and tenant representation through the Tenant Duty Counsel Program. 

3. Re-establishing in-person hearings as a viable and accessible option for all parties. 

4. Conducting an internal review of case resolution practices at the HRTO to ensure compliance with the statutory duty to provide parties with the opportunity to make oral submissions before dismissal. 

5. Ensuring that that all tribunals have a full complement of expert adjudicators, chosen through a competitive, merit-based process, able to provide timely dispute resolution services, in both official languages. 

6. Restoring the standing stakeholder advisory committees that were disbanded since the current Government was first elected in 2018, allowing meaningful input into the design of tribunal processes, including improvements to the rules and policies. 

7. Depoliticizing appointments and reappointments to all adjudicative tribunals by establishing an Adjudicative Tribunal Justice Council to provide independent oversight of the adjudicative system.

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