Cuts to provincial funding result in backlogs, delays for administrative tribunals
- December 13, 2019
- Amanda Dimilta
- Comments Off on Cuts to provincial funding result in backlogs, delays for administrative tribunals
Administrative tribunals were created to offer expertise in specialized areas of law, and to be an accessible alternative to civil court proceedings for the residents of Ontario. These tribunals manage disputes related to landlord and tenant issues, employment discrimination, access to public education, and availability of social benefits, among many others.
However, with the creation of Tribunals Ontario in 2018, nearly 20 tribunals were merged into a single administrative body. Combined with staffing decreases and delays in the political appointment process, the result has been a slow grinding of the tribunal adjudication process, leading to delays, backlogs, and even cancellations of mediation and hearing dates.
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) has steadily earned respect and deference from Ontario courts for its specialized adjudication of administrative law matters. As a result of provincial government funding changes, however, approximately 70% of adjudicators at the HRTO have their appointments expiring in the first few months of 2020. The delays and backlogs are expected to continue.
According to Roberto Henriquez, a human rights lawyer in Hamilton: “Perhaps more than the legal aid cuts, the cuts and sidelining of our administrative tribunals pose a serious threat to Ontario’s legal system.” You can read more about this in Henriquez’s article, here (link).