Last updated: November 1, 2023
In past three years, the Tribunal experienced a rapid spike in the number of complaints filed. The Tribunal did not have the capacity to address the increased number of complaints. As a result, there is a backlog of cases and growing delays for parties at every stage of the Tribunal’s process. We closed the 2022-23 fiscal year with over 5,000 active cases. We expect the increased number of complaints to continue.
The Provincial Government has now increased funding for the Tribunal for the next three years, allowing the Tribunal to begin to address the backlog, address delays, and better align its services with existing demands.
What the Tribunal is doing
The Tribunal is making changes beginning in July 2023 to address the backlog. The Tribunal strategy has three components, focused on the areas of the Tribunal’s process with greatest delays. The three components are (1) a Covid Case Project; (2) Outstanding Dismissal Applications Project; and (3) a Screening Inventory Project. Outlines of each are below.
(1) Covid Case Project
Background: The Tribunal’s current case load includes 946 Covid-related cases, primarily concentrated at the initial stages of the Tribunal’s process. The Tribunal has established a Covid case group that is dedicated to processing these and other Covid-related cases. Covid-related cases at later stages of the Tribunal’s process will continue to move forward in the ordinary course.
What to expect: In the coming months, the Tribunal will be notifying complainants about whether their complaints are proceeding. If the Tribunal decides to proceed with a complaint, it will notify respondents and will advise the parties about next steps in the process.
(2) Outstanding Dismissal Applications Project
Background: The Tribunal’s current case load includes a large number of complaints in which the parties are waiting for a decision on a respondent’s application to dismiss the complaint without a hearing. While this number is relatively small compared to the Tribunal’s overall caseload, these applications are resource intensive. The Tribunal has not had the capacity to decide these applications in a timely way or reduce this backlog. The result is significant delay in decisions about whether the complaint will proceed to a hearing.
What to expect: For the balance of 2023, the Tribunal will concentrate Member resources on clearing this backlog. To do this, we have made the difficult decision to adjourn the majority of 2023 hearings of complaints filed in 2020 or later. The Tribunal’s capacity to conduct hearings will increase in 2024 with the hiring of new Tribunal Members. All hearings will be scheduled, or re-scheduled, based on the date the complaint was filed, from oldest to newest. The Tribunal is also pausing its review of complaints filed in 2020 or later, under its Case Path Pilot Project, which determines which will proceed to hearing and which may proceed through the application to dismiss process. We will be reviewing this pause in November 2023. We do not expect that this pause will further delay the process for the affected parties. The Tribunal will notify affected parties to explain the impact and what to expect.
(3) Screening Inventory Project
The Tribunal’s current case load includes roughly 2,890 complaints that are awaiting a decision about whether the Tribunal will proceed with the complaint. Some of these complaints fall within the COVID Case project. The remainder fall within the Screening Inventory project.
This project involves adding resources and reviewing our screening thresholds for efficiencies to facilitate faster screening. Specifically, the Tribunal will no longer be perfecting complaints by parsing out specific grounds or allegations. In other words, if there is an arguable contravention of the Code outlined in a complaint, the complaint will proceed as filed.