Ontario Considering Putting Tribunals into Online Dispute Resolution
Disputes in the Social Justice cluster of tribunals — including Landlord & Tenant, the Social Benefits Tribunal and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario — may be moved out of the public system, to an online dispute resolution system (ODR).
Brendan Crawley, Senior Coordinator, Media Relations Communications Branch with the Ministry of the Attorney General, confirmed the ODR plan is in the early planning stages.
“The Ministry of the Attorney General is aware of the potential for online dispute resolution and is in the early stages of considering its use for a number of ministry programs,” Crawley said. “It has potential application for resolving not only court disputes but also some kinds of disputes in administrative tribunals, as well as for taking some of those disputes out of the public system entirely.”
British Columbia introduced legislation in March, to have some condo and small claims disputes settled through binding online arbitration. Praised by the condo industry and legal community as a cheaper, faster method of resolving issues, the province’s site is expected to start handling cases this summer. Nova Scotia started using an online AMP system for Workplace Health & Safety infractions, in 2013.
The Ministry of the Attorney General has launched consultations for an online system to handle some traffic tickets and other Provincial Offences Act infractions.
This “administrative monetary penalty system” would, if implemented, replace formal in-court procedures for resolving disputes. The consultation phase has been extended, to April 28.
The Ministry notes that the current system, which mirrors the criminal trial process, takes significant public resources, including costs for a justice of the peace, a prosecutor and the enforcement officer who laid the charge. “This is in addition to the inconvenience and expense often incurred by defendants, including the time and costs associated with finding legal representation, travel and child care costs, and taking time off work to attend court.”
Stephen Parker, president of the Ontario Paralegal Association (OPA), says that if the AMP system is implemented, it would affect “the vast majority of paralegals” who represent clients with provincial offences matters. “The OPA is already working on responding to the consultation document and will also be discussing this situation with the Law Society,” he said.
Non-Profit Providers and Owners Are ‘Co-Landlords': Board Review
Michael Gottheil, Executive Chair of the Landlord and Tenant Board, decided in a Review Order that the LTB has no jurisdiction to make orders related to a non-profit housing organization and the building owner it works with.
Gottheil found the bodies are co-landlords — not in a sub-tenant relationship.
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