2013-2014 in Review

Activities

In this reporting period, the Tribunal registered 136 new requests for review

This annual report covers the twelve months between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. In this reporting period, the Tribunal registered 136 new requests for review (79 aviation, 52 marine, 5 CTA), and 7 requests for appeal (aviation and 3 marine). Additionally, 7 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, 237 cases were carried over from the previous reporting period, bringing the total caseload to 380. This represents a decrease of 14 cases over the fiscal year 2012-2013.

The Tribunal heard 30 Reviews (14 aviation and 16 marine) and 2 Appeals (1 aviation and 1 marine) for a total of 29 hearing days. Of the 32 cases that proceeded to a hearing, many were postponed and rescheduled at a later date. At the end of 2013-2014, 137 cases were pending further action, 8 were awaiting decisions and 13 had been scheduled for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

In the 2013-2014 reporting period, 181 cases were concluded without a hearing. It should be noted that of these 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 181 cases concluded without a hearing were resolved in a number of ways: the document holder paid the fine before the hearing commenced; the document holder's licence was reinstated before the hearing; the request for hearing was withdrawn by the document holder; the notice was withdrawn by the Minister; or an agreement was reached between the parties.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

In 2012-2013, the Tribunal referred 5 cases back to the Minister of Transport for reconsideration

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 2013-2014 between the conclusion of a Review Hearing and the issuance of a determination is 158 days, and 159 days for an Appeal Hearing.

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 of information.

In 2012-2013, the Tribunal referred 5 cases (3 aviation and 2 marine) back to the Minister of Transport for reconsideration, in light of the Tribunal lacking the power to substitute its own decision for that of the Minister in these cases. The Minister upheld the Review Determination in 1 case and we are awaiting the outcome in 4 cases.

In 2013-2014, the Tribunal referred 5 cases back to the Minister for reconsideration (2 aviation and 3 marine). We are awaiting the outcome of all 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.

Training resources for Members and staff are available in various formats, including online, electronic and traditional published formats. Continuous communication and updates are conveyed to Members through regular contact, including sector-specific teleconferences, and a periodic internal newsletter.

The Tribunal is committed to providing continuous learning opportunities to all current and new Members. This year, the Tribunal initiated professional development sessions in the form of webinars, in addition to providing traditional learning opportunities. This combined approach helps Members to maximize their effectiveness in the adjudicative process, to keep abreast of developments in the federal transportation sector, and to render decisions according to the values and expected outcomes mandated to the Tribunal.

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 rendered, are reflective of the high level of experience possessed by, and the training provided to, all Tribunal Members.

Future Plans

The most significant challenges for the Tribunal are the number of Members available to conduct hearings expeditiously, and the recruitment and retention of Members with the appropriate skill sets. In order to deliver on its mandate and program, the Tribunal needs to have an adequate number of Members with the right mix of skills and talents in various modes of the transportation sector, as well as legal and medical expertise. In addition to professional development for Members, employees will require additional training, succession planning will need to be undertaken, and new staff hired to ensure that efficiencies and best practices are maintained.

Measures to alleviate the increasing case backlog include the use of videoconferencing to conduct hearings. This will facilitate the logistics involved in arranging hearings and increase the number of hearings the Tribunal can hold. The Tribunal will also reduce the timeline for deferments from two years to one year, to help reduce the backlog. As well, the Tribunal will continue to review its internal processes in order to improve its efficiency in producing decisions.

In March 2014, the Government of Canada announced it would introduce legislation that will centralize and coordinate the provision of support services to some of its administrative tribunals, including the TATC, through a single, integrated organization – the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada (ATSSC). 

A main goal for creating the ATSSC is to better meet the administrative needs of tribunals. The new, larger organization will pool resources from smaller entities, which will strengthen the overall capacity to support the tribunals and help modernize their operations, with the goal of improving access to justice for Canadians.

Resources

Financial Resources -Details of Financial Requirements by Object (Thousands of dollars)
  Estimates
2013-2014
Actual Expenses
2013-2014
PERSONNEL
Salaries and wages 729.0 769.6
Contributions to employee benefit plans 126.9 137.2
Total personnel 855.9 906.8
GOODS AND SERVICES
Transportation and communications 200.0 106.1
Information and printing services 25.0 0.0
Professional and special services 309.0 399.4
Rentals 25.0 20.4
Purchased, repairs and upkeep 5.0 0.0
Utilities, materials and supplies 0.0 37.9
Total goods and services 564.0 563.8
GRAND TOTAL 1,419.9 1,470.6
Distribution of Full-Time Equivalents FTEs*
* FTEs: Full-time equivalent is a measure of human resource consumption
Governor in Council (GIC) 2
Administrative Services (AS) 8
Information Services (IS) 2
Total 12

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