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Message of the Chair
The "Appeals Cup" Overflow

When an NHL team wins the Stanley Cup, the players often celebrate by filling the Stanley Cup with champagne, which occasionally overflows a little bit. Although the Appeals Tribunal cannot compete for the Stanley Cup, the Tribunal’s “Appeals Cup” also overflows occasionally. The “Appeals Cup” is designed to hold approximately 4,000 active appeals; however, this year the cup received a massive appeals overflow and by year-end the active appeals inventory was extremely close to 9,000 active appeals.

In order to deal with the massive overflow, the Appeals Tribunal continues to attempt to expand its roster of competent Vice-Chairs and Members; however, a number of potential competent Vice-Chairs and Members continue to be concerned about the ten-year limit on appointments, and a number of them have withdrawn their applications for an appointment once they became aware of the ten-year limit. While the Tribunal and the legal community are familiar with the Tribunal’s quality case law and continue to attempt to improve the quality of Ontario’s administrative justice system, only the legal community and the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators (SOAR) have made submissions to the government in support of the need to retain the most competent adjudicators well beyond the ten-year limit. Some of those concerned bodies have quietly suggested that the Public Appointments Secretariat should consider the negative effect on Microsoft® and Apple® if Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had deliberately expelled their most competent employees after ten years. Some have suggested that if Microsoft® and Apple® had followed a ten-year limit, both those extremely successful corporations would now be in receivership

While many boards and tribunals throughout Canada are impressed with the Appeals Tribunal quality of adjudication and its exemplary judicial review record, they are shocked at any information limiting the terms of quality, competent Vice-Chairs and Members to a ten-year term. As Winston Churchill once noted, “Criticism is easy; achievement is more difficult.”

The current active appeals inventory of approximately 9,000 appeals does contain many difficult cases with complex medical and legal issues, multiple issues and extensive legal submissions. Fortunately, the extremely knowledgeable Vice-Chairs and Members can deal with those complex appeals and produce detailed decisions which consistently stand up to judicial scrutiny on judicial appeals

If the Appeals Tribunal can continue to add top-line players to its appeals team, it still will not allow the Appeals Tribunal to compete for the Stanley Cup; however, it should allow the Tribunal and its team members to deal with the “Appeals Cup” overflow throughout 2015 and 2016

Posted: March 30, 2015

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