Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act, 2015
– The Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act, 2015
(Bill 18) received Royal Assent on May14, 2015. Sections 199 and 201 of that Act came into force at that time and were the subject of an earlier alert. The remaining sections were brought into force by regulation, effective December 17, 2015. Some of the changes do not affect WCAT at all, and some may affect WCAT only in limited circumstances. Some changes that may affect WCAT are summarized below.
Part 3 – Clustering. Part 3, which adds sections 10.1 to 10.6 to the ATA, empowers the Lieutenant Governor in Council to designate two or more tribunals as a cluster, and appoint an executive chair responsible for the cluster. WCAT has not been designated as part of a cluster at this time.
Section 44 of the ATA no longer applies to WCAT, and section 45 of the ATA applies instead. As a result, WCAT gains jurisdiction over constitutional questions, other than questions relating to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Part 9 – Accountability and Judicial Review. Sections 59.1 and 59.2 are added to the ATA. Section 59.1 permits tribunals to conduct surveys in the course of or after providing services, for the purpose of evaluating and improving those services. Section 59.2 requires tribunals to submit information to the minister responsible for the tribunal respecting performance indicators, the nature and number of applications, details regarding time from filing to decision, results of surveys, and other information as prescribed by regulation.
Proposed amendments to WCAT’s Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure to reflect the legislative changes will be posted for comment in the near future.
Link to the Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act (2015)
WCAT will be introducing a new case management system for its staff in January 2016 – Update
– Here are some of the changes we anticipate as we launch the new system and gradually retire the existing system:
Status of An Appeal – this screen on our website allows parties to see where in the appeal process their appeal is. As the website can pull information from only one system, appeals registered after January 1st in the new system (WCAT-CMS) will not show on the Status of an Appeal screen until we have phased out our existing system in the spring of 2016. WCAT will put an Alert on our website with respect to when it will stop pulling appeal information from our existing system and start pulling information from the new system. As well, currently this screen can be searched by parties using a claim number or appeal number. Once we transition to the new system this will be revised to search by claim number only. (This is because in the new system the appeal number will be the same as the decision number and thus will be published.)
There will be a short period of time at the beginning of January when WCAT will stop entering appeals in the existing system and hold them to enter in WCAT-CMS. This will result in a short delay in WCAT sending out letters acknowledging receipt of new appeals.
New Letter format – for all parties being copied on a letter there will be a "copy" watermark and the salutation will refer to the primary recipient of the letter.
Decisions – the format for the decisions sent to parties will be revised slightly so that the front page has the parties and their addresses (currently this information is split between the first and last page).