This annual report covers the twelve months between April 1, 2009, and March 31, 2010. In this reporting period, the Tribunal registered 130 new requests for review (91 aviation, 32 marine and 7 from the Canadian Transportation Agency) and 16 requests for appeal from the aviation sector. This represents an increase of 27 new case files registered over fiscal year 2008–2009. Additionally, 37 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, 115 cases were carried over from the previous reporting period, bringing the total caseload to 261. This represents an increase of 45 cases over 2008–2009.
The Tribunal heard 34 first level reviews (19 aviation, 14 marine and 1 Canadian Transportation Agency) and 9 second level appeals for a total of 54 hearing days. This represents an increase of 5 hearings over the previous fiscal year. Of the 43 cases that proceeded to a hearing, many cases were postponed and rescheduled at a later date. At the end of 2009–2010, 102 cases were pending further action, 19 were awaiting decisions and 17 had been scheduled for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
In the 2009–2010 reporting period, 87 cases were concluded without a hearing. It should be noted that of these 87 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 65 hearings.
The 87 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fine before the hearing; the document holder's licence was reinstated before the hearing; the request for hearing was withdrawn by the document holder; the notice was withdrawn by the Minister; or an agreement was reached between the parties.
The Tribunal's effectiveness can be measured by its ability to provide the Canadian 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 130 days and 120 days for an Appeal Hearing. 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.
Facilitating discussions before the parties have also been particularly effective in settling licence suspensions and the 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 2008–2009, the Tribunal referred 2 aviation cases back to the Minister of Transport for reconsideration, pursuant to section 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 other case.
In 2009–2010, the Tribunal did not refer any cases back to the Minister for reconsideration.
Training and Development
When new Members are appointed, they receive in-house training in all aspects of administrative law and the conduct of Review and Appeal Hearings. As well, external legal counsel is available to assist during pre-hearing, hearing and post hearing matters. Internally, the staff is encouraged to undergo annual professional education.
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 experience possessed by and the training provided to all Tribunal Members.
To address cost containment initiatives, the 2009 annual seminar was cancelled. With the anticipated pending appointments of new Members, the Tribunal plans to hold an annual seminar in 2010. This will ensure that both staff and Members are apprised of recent developments in administrative law and transportation legislative issues.
The Tribunal's jurisdiction was increased to include the International Bridges and Tunnels Act. Regulations relating to the marine sector came into effect in the last quarter of 2007–2008. As well, it is expected that 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 unpredictable workload of the Tribunal.
With the prediction of an increased caseload of as much as fifty percent to include the marine sector, the Tribunal will be seeking additional funding to sustain its multi-transportation modal administrative law mandate.
The most significant upcoming challenge for the Tribunal will be the realization of its expansion as a multi-modal transportation tribunal addressing the air, marine and rail sectors. The reorganization of the Tribunal will increase the overall workload and require expansion of capacity in new areas of expertise and more Members will have to be appointed and trained. Existing employees will likely require additional training and new staff will have to be hired to ensure that the current high level of efficiencies and professionalism will be maintained.
|(Thousands of dollars)||Budget 2009–2010||Actual Expenses 2009–2010||Estimates 2008–2009|
|Salaries and wages||794.5||668.7||741.9|
|Contributions to employee benefit plans||134.1||123.5||131.6|
|GOODS AND SERVICES|
|Transportation and communications||245.2||140.8||202.7|
|Information and printing services||45.0||37.4||29.0|
|Professional and special services||375.0||299.3||167.2|
|Purchased, repairs and upkeep||85.0||79.4||532.0|
|Utilities, materials and supplies||70.0||47.4||28.0|
|Total goods and services||860.2||637.0||982.9|
|* FTEs: Full-time equivalent is a measure of human resource consumption.|
|Governor In Council (GIC)||2|
|Administrative Services (AS)||7|
|Information Services (IS)||2|
|Legal Counsel (LA2B)||1|
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