2008-2009 in Review

Activities

The present annual report covers the 12 months between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009. In the 12-month reporting period, the Tribunal registered 112 new requests for review (96 aviation, 14 marine and 2 from the Canadian Transportation Agency) and requests for appeal from the aviation sector. This represents a decrease of 29 new case files registered over fiscal year 2007‑2008. Additionally, 26 requests for certificates were received from the Minister, pursuant to section 7.92 of the Aeronautics Act.

In addition to the new cases registered in this reporting period, 97 cases were carried over from the previous reporting period, bringing the total caseload to 216. This represents a decrease of 42 cases over 2007-2008.

The Tribunal heard 30 first level reviews and second level appeals for a total of 48 hearing days. This represents an increase of 1 hearing over the previous fiscal year. Of the 38 cases that proceeded to a hearing, many cases were postponed and rescheduled at a later date. At the end of 2008-2009, 90 cases were pending further action, 16 were awaiting decisions and 9 had been scheduled for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

In the 2008-2009 reporting period, 75 cases were concluded without a hearing. It should be noted that of these 75 cases many were requests filed with the Tribunal and concluded shortly before the hearing was to take place, which means that all registry work that leads up to the hearing was completed. The registry prepared for 66 hearings.

The 75 cases concluded without a hearing were resolved in a number of ways:

  • the document holder paid the fine before the hearing;
  • the document holder's licence was reinstated before the hearing;
  • the request for hearing was withdrawn by the document holder;
  • the notice was withdrawn by the Minister;
  • an agreement was reached between the parties.

Effectiveness

The program's effectiveness can be measured by its ability to provide the transportation community with the opportunity to have ministerial decisions reviewed fairly, equitably and within a reasonable period of time.

The average lapsed time between the conclusion of a review hearing and the issuance of a determination is 70 days and 85 days for an appeal. This brings the hearing process to a timely conclusion for both parties appearing before the Tribunal.

The Tribunal encourages the use of pre-hearing conferences to assist the parties appearing before it, to identify the issues for determination by the Tribunal and to disclose and exchange documents. This reduces the length of hearings and avoids last-minute adjournments necessitated by late disclosure.

Such conferences have also been particularly effective in settling licence suspensions and refusal to renew on medical grounds without the necessity of a hearing. The Tribunal registrars contact the parties to schedule mutually agreed hearing dates to the extent possible to avoid unnecessary adjournments.

In 2007-2008, the Tribunal referred 6 cases back to the Minister of Transport for reconsideration, pursuant to sections 6.72 and 7.1 of the Aeronautics Act, the Tribunal lacking the power to substitute its own decision for that of the Minister in these cases. The Minister confirmed its original decision in 1 case, and we are still awaiting the outcome in the 5 remaining cases.

In 2008-2009, the Tribunal referred 2 cases back to the Minister. We are still awaiting the outcome in these 2 cases.

Training and Development

For the 13th consecutive year, the Tribunal supervised a student from the Federal Tribunals Practice Seminar of the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. The student prepared a research paper on Notice of Cancellation of Canadian Aviation Document in the Public Interest regarding a Federal Court Judgment (Trial Division).

A three-day training session was held at the Tribunal office in Ottawa from October 6 to 8, 2008. Seven recent appointees (4 in aviation and 3 in marine) attended the session. The Tribunal's success can, in great part, be attributed to the importance placed on the training and development of its members and staff.

The quality of the hearings which are held across the country and the decisions which are rendered are reflective of the high level of training provided to all Tribunal members.

Annual Seminar

The Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada's fifth annual seminar was held in Ottawa, Ontario, on May 1 and 2, 2008 at the Château Laurier Hotel. The Tribunal's annual seminar ensures a trained membership through updates and discussions of legislative changes. The interaction of members and role play scenarios assist the membership in achieving quality and consistency in making and writing its decisions.

The Tribunal Chairperson, Faye Smith, welcomed new members to the Tribunal and presented an overview of the year in review. Tribunal counsel, Gerry Stobo and Jack Hughes, conducted a mock hearing and led a discussion on the conduct of hearings. An inspiring presentation was given by Justice Jim Chadwick (former Justice of the Ontario Superior Court) respecting decision writing.

The Vice-Chairperson, Eleanor Humphries, introduced, as follows, the industry panel and Transport Canada guests who provided brief presentations:

Industry Panel

  • Mr. Rich Gage − Canadian Business Aircraft Association
  • Mr. John McKenna − Association québécoise du transport aérien
  • Captain Rick Rapagna − Airline Pilots Association
  • Captain Andy Wilson − Air Canada Pilots Association
  • Mr. Kevin Psutka − Canadian Owners and Pilots Association
  • Mr. Greg Miles − Canadian Air Traffic Controllers Association
  • Mr. Sam Barone − Air Transport Association of Canada
  • Mr. Jim Facette − Canadian Airports Council
  • Mr. Cliff Mackay − Railway Association of Canada

Transport Canada Guests

  • Ms. Beverlie Caminsky, Chief, Advisory and Appeals
  • Ms. Pauline Mang, Security Operations Branch
  • Mr. Frank Ritchie and Mr. Muhammad Akhtar of Regulatory Services & Quality Assurance − Marine

Future Plans

The Tribunal's jurisdiction was increased to include the International Bridges and Tunnels Act. Regulations relating to the marine sector have come into effect in the last quarter of the past fiscal year. As well, additional legislation respecting airports will be implemented over the next few years that will have the effect of increasing the number of offences under the designated provisions which in turn will affect the workload of the Tribunal.

On the prediction of an increased caseload of as much as 50 percent with the Tribunal's expansion to include the marine sector, the Tribunal is seeking additional funding to sustain its multi-modal mandate. The most significant upcoming challenge for the Tribunal will be the realization of its expansion as a multi-modal transportation tribunal. The reorganization of the Tribunal will increase the overall workload and require expansion of capacity in new areas of expertise: more members will have to be appointed and trained. Existing employees will likely require additional training and more staff will have to be hired to ensure that current efficiencies will be maintained.

Resources

Figure 2: Financial Resources

Details of Financial Requirements by Object

(Thousands of dollars)

Budget
2008-2009

Actual Expenses
2008-2009

Budget
2007-2008

PERSONNEL

Salaries and wages

741.9

691.3

688.0

Contributions to employee benefit plans

121.0

114.0

126.0

Total personnel

862.9

805.4

814.0

GOODS AND SERVICES

Transportation and communications

202.7

189.4

163.8

Information and printing services

29.0

27.8

30.7

Professional and special services

168.2

165.0

521.3

Rentals

24.1

21.9

14.5

Purchased repairs and upkeep

532.0

502.3

0.0

Utilities, materials and supplies

28.0

38.5

52.9

Total goods and services

984.0

944.9

783.2

GRAND TOTAL

1 846.9

1 750.3

1 597.2

Figure 3: Distribution of Full-Time Equivalents

 

FTEs*

Governor in Council (GIC)

2

Administrative Services (AS)

7

Information Services (IS)

2

Social Science (SI)

1

Total

12

* FTEs: Full-time equivalent is a measure of human resource consumption.