Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hudak's Proposed Changes To OHRT Would Drive Up Costs

From Ontario News Watch,  human rights lawyer Andrew Pinto:

Critics of the system, citing a backlog of 4,000 cases, have said they want the tribunal run more like a court. 

But the rules of evidence used in courts could require complainants to hire lawyers, as well as pay doctors and other expert witnesses to testify in person, said Pinto.

Under the current system, those who have lodged a complaint with the province's human rights tribunal can submit documents signed by their doctors as evidence, he explained.

We don't know much about Hudak's plan, other than that his "reforms" are supposedly intended to clear-up the 4,000 case backlog.  Cost issues aside, I can't see how requiring expert witnesses to appear in person would speed matters along.  In fact, one of the means by which Hudak would cut eliminate "frivolous complaints" would be to restore the Ontario human rights regime to its pre-2008 state, when cases were screened by the Ontario Human Rights Commission before going to the tribunal.  This is arguably a better way of doing things, but since the '08 changes were billed as time-saving measures designed to speed up the process, returning to the old ways will almost certainly not do anything about that back-log.

1 comment:

Terrence said...

You make a good point.

There is a conflict between the aims of (a) making the OHRT system more like a court-of-law, and (b) making it cheaper and more efficient.

In the short run, Speech Warriors (tm) should really have to pick one: either the OHRT is turned into a court, and becomes (arguably) more reliable, at greater expense; or the OHRT moves even further away from the court model and becomes cheaper and faster.

I don't see how you can have both, and plumping for the long run solution -- abolition of the system -- is a red herring.

Personally, I pick (a), despite the increase in costs.