2010-2011 in Review

Activities

This annual report covers the twelve months between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011. In this reporting period, the Tribunal registered 149 new requests for review (92 aviation, 56 marine and 1 Rail) and 6 requests for appeal (4 Aviation, 1 Marine and 1 from the Canadian Transportation Agency). This represents an increase of 9 new case files registered over fiscal year 2009 2010. Additionally, 17 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, 138 cases were carried over from the previous reporting period, bringing the total caseload to 293. This represents an increase of 32 cases over 2009-2010.

The Tribunal heard 28 first level reviews (18 aviation and 10 marine) and 8 second level appeals (7 aviation and 1 marine) for a total of 54 hearing days. This represents a decrease of 7 hearings over the previous fiscal year. Of the 56 cases that proceeded to a hearing, many cases were postponed and rescheduled at a later date. At the end of 2010-2011, 130 cases were pending further action, 18 were awaiting decisions and 16 had been scheduled for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

In the 2010-2011 reporting period, 92 cases were concluded without a hearing. It should be noted that of these 92 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 71 hearings.

The 92 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fine before the hearing; the document holder's licence was reinstated before the hearing; the request for hearing was withdrawn by the document holder; the notice was withdrawn by the Minister; or an agreement was reached between the parties.

Effectiveness

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 in 2010-2011 between the conclusion of a Review Hearing and the issuance of a determination is 98 days and 160 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 2009-2010, the Tribunal did not refer any cases back to the Minister of Transport for reconsideration, pursuant to section 7.1 of the Aeronautics Act. In 2010-2011, the Tribunal referred 3 cases back to the Minister for reconsideration, in light of the Tribunal lacking the power to substitute its own decision for that of the Minister in these cases.

Training and Development

When new Members are appointed, they receive in-house training in all aspects of administrative law and the conduct of 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.

Future Plans

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-modal transportation 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. This 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 new staff will have to be hired to ensure that the current high efficiencies will be maintained.

Resources

Financial Resources – Details of Financial Requirements by Object
(Thousands of dollars) Budget 2010-2011 Actual Expenses 2010-2011 Estimates 2009-2010
PERSONNEL
Salaries and wages 794.5 720.8 658.4
Contributions to employee benefit plans 134.1 129.2 115.6
Total personnel 928.6 850.0 775.0
GOODS AND SERVICES
Transportation and communications 245.2 182.0 188.0
Information and printing services 45.0 37.4 27.8
Professional and special services 375.0 367.5 357.0
Rentals 40.0 24.0 28.0
Purchased, repairs and upkeep 85.0 29.8 56.0
Utilities, materials and supplies 70.0 27.5 28.0
Total goods and services 860.2 668.2 684.8
GRAND TOTAL 1,788.8 1,518.2 1,459.8
DISTRIBUTION OF FULL-TIME EQUIVALENTS
  FTEs*
Governor In Council (GIC) 2
Administrative Services (AS) 7
Information Services (IS) 2
Legal Counsel (LA2B) 1
TOTAL 12
* FTEs: Full-time equivalent is a measure of human resource consumption.