March 19, 2024

The Adjudicative Tribunal Justice Council: A Proposal For 2024

Revised and updated from the October 2021 statement: The Adjudicative Tribunal Justice Council: A Proposal.

The people of Ontario are much more likely to have legal issues before tribunals than before the courts. Public confidence in the administration of justice requires that adjudicative tribunals and their adjudicators are independent, impartial, competent, expert, inclusive and accessible. These are important parts of Tribunal Watch Ontario’s Statement of Principles and the proposed Adjudicative Tribunal Justice Council is a necessary and logical part of implementing these foundational principles for our adjudicative tribunal system.

The Adjudicative Tribunal Justice Council

Tribunal Watch Ontario has proposed the creation of an Adjudicative Tribunal Justice Council, an independent, non-partisan body to oversee the administration of tribunal justice in Ontario, including appointment and re-appointment processes that are fair, timely and transparent, and are free of partisan or patronage influences.

The Council must be enshrined in legislation that guarantees the independence and impartiality of the Council and adjudicative tribunals, with protections for funding and operational autonomy.

The proposed Council will be an independent, non-partisan body responsible for the oversight of the tribunal justice system. The Council will be governed by a board of governors comprised of representatives with related expertise from the judiciary, the legal profession, the academic community, and the tribunal sector. The Council will have a mandate to ensure a systemic and integrated approach to the maintenance of diversity and inclusion in its board, staff, policies, and practices.

The Council will report to the Legislature in the same manner as agencies such as the Ombudsman and the Auditor General.

The Council shall have the powers necessary for the performance of its general mandate as set out in its governing legislation, including:

  • Recruitment of tribunal chairs and members, including establishing selection panels;
  • Oversight of appointment, re-appointment, non-re-appointment or termination of the appointment of tribunal chairs and members, including a process for review of non-re-appointment or termination decisions; 1 Revised and updated from a Tribunal Watch Ontario document dated October 2021 – https://tribunalwatch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/adjudicative-tribunal-justice-council-proposal-2021-09-16- formatted.pdf
  • The establishment of a comprehensive program for performance assessment of tribunal chairs and members, while respecting their adjudicative independence.
  • The establishment of policies regarding the length of terms for appointments and reappointments of tribunal chairs and members, as well as minimum notice requirements for non-re-appointments;
  • Research and recommendations about trends and concerns related to Ontario’s adjudicative tribunal justice system, including its independence and impartiality, competence and expertise, inclusiveness and accessibility, and fairness and efficiency.
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