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ARCHIVED - RPP 2006-2007
Canadian International Trade Tribunal

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Chairperson’s Message

I am pleased to present the Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (the Tribunal) for 2006-2007.

The Tribunal’s mandate is to provide fair, timely and effective disposition of international trade cases and government-mandated inquiries in various areas of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction. The Tribunal conducts inquiries into complaints relating to unfair trade (i.e. dumping and subsidizing), requests for protection from import competition (safeguards) and complaints regarding federal government procurement. The Tribunal hears appeals from decisions of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). In its advisory role, the Tribunal undertakes general economic inquiries and tariff references for the Minister of Finance or the Governor in Council. In so doing, the Tribunal contributes to Canada’s competitiveness.

The Tribunal’s workload is, for the most part, externally generated. One of the Tribunal’s main challenges continues to be the allocation of limited resources to a variable and unpredictable caseload in such a manner as to ensure that statutory deadlines are met and that the quality of its findings, determinations and recommendations is not compromised. This situation has been compounded by the fact that, the size and complexity of cases have increased significantly in the last two years. The main priority of the Tribunal is to ensure its program integrity of the Tribunal and the continued quality and timeliness of its decisions. In this respect a priority in 2006-2007 will be to secure additional funding to meet the peaks in its workload.

Another challenge for the Tribunal will be to ensure the continuity and renewal of its highly specialized workforce. The Tribunal will be paying special attention to succession planning and learning strategies as part of its human resources planning.

The Tribunal will be continuing, based on available resources, with a range of technological improvements, to improve its case management processes and remote access to information by parties. Other service improvements include the automation of the hearing rooms, electronic filing, electronic questionnaires, and greater use of the Tribunal’s Web site for external communications and the provision of information to the public.

The Tribunal will also continue to improve its management practices for reporting, accountability and control to contribute to the management agenda of the new government.

Pierre Gosselin

Legislative Context

The Tribunal acts as an independent, quasi-judicial, decision-making body that is accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Finance. The Tribunal may be composed of up to 9 (currently 7) full-time members, including a chairperson and two vice-chairpersons. The Tribunal is supported by a permanent staff of 87 people, responsible for court registry functions, the research and investigation of cases, legal services to the Members and staff, and corporate services. The Tribunal derives its authority from the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act (CITT Act), which received Royal Assent on September 13, 1988; the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA); the Customs Act; and the Excise Tax Act.

Under the CITT Act, the Tribunal is empowered, on complaint by an interested party or as directed by the government, to carry out import safeguard inquiries into rapid increases in foreign imports (including through special procedures for imports specifically from the People’s Republic of China [China]) and to formulate recommendations to the government for dealing with such imports. Under SIMA, the Tribunal conducts inquiries into whether dumped and/or subsidized imports have injured Canadian manufacturers. Pursuant to the Customs Act, the Excise Tax Act and SIMA, the Tribunal is empowered to deal with appeals from decisions of the CRA and the CBSA on various customs and excise matters. With the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Tribunal’s mandate was expanded to include reviewing bid challenges on federal government procurement matters. The Tribunal has also been designated as the bid challenge authority under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (AGP).

Tribunal’s Mission

The Tribunal’s mission is to provide a fair, accessible and efficient trade remedies system to Canadians and to offer the government, through the Tribunal’s fact-finding inquiries and standing reference, its best advice so that it can formulate strategies for making the Canadian business sector better able to provide jobs and growth in today’s globalized commercial environment.

In its quasi-judicial role, its caseload is comprised of:

  • Unfair trade cases—inquiries under SIMA into whether dumped or subsidized imports have caused or are threatening to cause injury to a Canadian industry
  • Safeguard cases—inquiries into whether the rapid build-up of imports from China, or from around the world, is causing injury to a Canadian industry
  • Appeals of decisions of the CBSA made under the Customs Act and SIMA and appeals of decisions of the CRA under the Excise Tax Act
  • Bid challenges—inquiries into complaints by potential suppliers concerning federal government procurement under NAFTA, the AIT and the AGP

The Tribunal also plays an advisory role for the government by conducting general economic inquiries and references, in particular:

  • Tariff and general economic inquiries referred by the government—inquiries and advice on such economic, trade and tariff issues as are referred to the Tribunal by the Governor in Council or the Minister of Finance
  • Standing tariff references from the Minister of Finance—investigations into requests from Canadian producers for tariff relief on imported textile inputs that they use in their production

The Tribunal obtains its operating budget through the Main Estimates process. It does not receive funds through grants and contributions or through cost recovery of its operational expenditures.

More detailed information on the Tribunal and its caseload is available on the Tribunal’s Web site at

Benefits to Canadians

Canadians benefit from the Tribunal through:

  • Access to fair and efficient processes for investigating complaints of injury from unfairly traded imports;
  • Inquiry into complaints of injurious competition from rapidly increasing imports;
  • Access to a fair and efficient process for investigating complaints of unfair government procurement decisions;
  • Compliance with Canada’s obligations under the WTO, and NAFTA and other trade agreements;
  • Reliable economic and trade analysis and advice for the government’s policy-making function; and
  • Ultimately, a fair and open trading system for individual Canadians and the Canadian business sector.

Challenges and Risks

Overall, the Tribunal delivers an indispensable trade adjudication service in the face of an increasingly heavy caseload and a complex environment. Specific challenges and risks include:

  • Capacity to Cope with Quasi-judicial Workload

    The Tribunal continues to face a large workload on dumping and subsidizing inquiries. Further, the workload associated with procurement complaints (though now stabilized) has tripled since 1994, and the complaints have become much more complex. The Tribunal has also undertaken several large safeguards and textile references in recent years without any additional resources.

    While caseload and case complexity have been increasing, the resources of the Tribunal have been decreasing. The Tribunal’s reference level for FTEs remains unchanged at 94, while its reference level for operating costs decreased by 12 percent. Further, the increase in the Tribunal’s type and volume of work has resulted in increases in non-discretionary costs (about 75 percent of O&M is non-discretionary).

    The result is that the Tribunal is seeking additional funding to carry out its mandate. The reference level has not been reviewed in 10 years and in fact has decreased, while the Tribunal’s case complexity and reporting requirements have increased over the years.

  • Maintaining the Level and Quality of Service and Meeting Legislative Timelines

    Most cases before the Tribunal are governed by tight legislated or government-mandated timelines. The heavy workload anticipated for 2006-2007 combined with the departure of key employees could impact the overall level and quality of service. It can also be expected that a lower priority may have to be assigned to areas of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction that are not subject to statutory deadlines. This would affect the speed with which appeals of CBSA decisions, requests for tariff relief under the Textile Standing Reference and bid challenges are processed.

  • Human Resources Impact: Succession Planning and Learning and Development

    The planned departures of key employees and the possible departure of others accounting for a significant portion of the corporate memory will create critical and serious human resources management challenges in the coming year. In the Research Branch alone, seven people (21 percent) are eligible for retirement in 2006-2007. As a result, there is a risk that the Tribunal may not have the right mix of competencies in the various areas of its jurisdiction.

    The work of the Tribunal requires special skills and knowledge, which is acquired over a number of years. The succession plan envisions the development of apprenticeship programs to meet these needs but such programs require a capacity to backfill. Due to the unpredictable workload and lack of sufficient resources, the Tribunal has not been able to pay adequate attention to succession planning and development opportunities for employees.

    In addition to work skills and knowledge training, the Tribunal is obligated to provide language training which has been postponed for some employees or given a low priority due to the excessive caseload demands placed upon the limited employee resources available. The Tribunal makes every effort to provide time for language training, however, doing so results in added burden on the remaining employees. Despite these pressures it is important to highlight that the Tribunal is rated as notable by the Commission of Official Languages in the provision of services in both official languages.

    There is constant pressure on the organization and on the Tribunal’s Human Resources Services to recruit, retain and renew human resources.

  • Human Resources Impact: Health and Welfare of Employees

    The substantial and increased amount of overtime is affecting the well-being of Tribunal employees as evidenced by the increased and prolonged use of sick leave, increased use of long-term disability leave and a significantly increased use of the Employee Assistance Program, which in the last year alone has tripled.

    Work-life balance has become one of the Tribunal’s top concerns. At the Tribunal’s September 2005 staff retreat, it was the main topic of discussion and staff concluded that the current situation was untenable over the long run.

  • Confidentiality Considerations

    The Tribunal exercises extreme caution in the use and distribution of confidential information given the serious and significant financial injury that could be caused by inappropriate dissemination and use of such information.

    The increased reliance on electronic tools in Tribunal proceedings also gives rise to concerns as to how to adequately protect electronic information to be made available to counsel. The Tribunal requires resources to invest in providing assurance on security of electronic systems before developing and implementing them.

  • Risk Management and Operational Improvements

    Increasingly, parties and their counsel expect to be able to interface with the Tribunal electronically, as they now do with the courts and other tribunals. This includes the ability to submit applications and supporting documentation electronically, to access case information electronically and to be able to communicate with the Tribunal and the other parties electronically and securely.

    It is difficult for the Tribunal, within its current A-base funding, to respond to the increasing pressures to provide improvements such as electronic filing and electronic sharing of information with parties. Even in situations where the Tribunal has been able to obtain more funds, e.g. Government On-Line, improvements required the involvement of line managers and officers whose time was more than consumed with case work.

    The Tribunal has also had to delay work related to business continuity planning and audits that was not directly case-related.

Stakeholder Expectations

The Tribunal must strive to meet the expectations of a wide range of stakeholders, including:

  • Parties—Litigants include domestic producers, exporters, importers and consumer groups. They typically want responsive service, timely processing of cases, information about cases and access to Tribunal files.
  • Counsel—Lawyers and trade consultants who represent parties want responsive service and access to case files, decisions and staff reports. They also expect the information to be provided to them by the Tribunal in hard copy and electronic format.
  • Governor in Council/Minister of Finance—As noted above, the government looks to the Tribunal for reliable economic and trade analysis and advice, and relies on the Tribunal for the purpose of meeting Canada’s trade obligations.
  • Public—At the highest level, Canada’s business sector and its trading partners throughout the world expect a fair and open trading system, and Canadians expect a more competitive Canadian industry in the global trade environment, as well as competitive prices.
  • Suppliers to Federal Government and Government Institutions—Suppliers expect fair and impartial decisions relating to procurement complaints and recommendations to improve procurement practices.

Stakeholder Expectations of the Tribunal

Stakeholder Expectations of the Tribunal

Departmental Plans and Priorities

As in previous years, the Tribunal’s overarching priority is to carefully consider and fairly decide cases within the tight deadlines imposed by legislation. In 2006-2007, the Tribunal hopes to secure additional funding to ensure that the Tribunal can carry out this mandate and supporting priorities. Supporting priorities include improving service through technology, as well as continuing to improve its management practices and investment in its people (with a particular focus on learning and improving the health and well-being of employees).

These priorities are summarized in the chart below and discussed in further detail in the text that follows. The associated resources are also summarized below.

Tribunal’s Priorities

Tribunal's Priorities

Summary Information on the Tribunal’s Priorities

Strategic Outcome

Fair, timely and effective disposition of international trade cases and government-mandated inquiries in various areas of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction

Financial Resources ($ thousands)







Human Resources (FTE)







Departmental Priorities



Planned Spending ($ thousands)




Process Cases Within Legislative Deadlines / Quality Standards





Improve Service Delivery





Invest In Our People





Sound Management Practices





Reference Level Up-date

The Tribunal is requesting an increase in its operating budget to better enable it to deliver upon its identified priorities.

Given the increasing size and complexity of trade remedy cases, the Tribunal believes it is no longer adequately funded to carry out its mandate. While the Tribunal's case load, case complexity and reporting requirements have continually increased over the past 10 years, its reference levels have not been adjusted accordingly. The Tribunal has been able to cope with the increased workload through overtime and other measures, but this has had a significant impact on the health and well-being of the employees.

Process Cases Within Legislative Deadlines / Quality Standards

The Tribunal’s overriding priority continues to be hearing cases and making sound decisions expeditiously on matters that fall within its jurisdiction within prescribed deadlines. In doing so, the Tribunal will strive to maintain the quality of its findings, determinations and recommendations.

Stakeholders’ level of satisfaction with the Tribunal’s procedures and guidelines entails a number of considerations such as the response time with regard to requests for information, the effectiveness of the Tribunal’s procedures, and the overall efficiency of the adjudication process. Some years ago, at the request of the Commodity Tax Committee of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), the Tribunal established a Bench and Bar Committee (the Committee). The Committee serves as a forum to discuss procedural issues of common interest. It is composed of lawyers nominated by the CBA, Department of Justice lawyers and trade consultants invited by the Tribunal. Meetings of the Committee provide an opportunity for participants to present their views and concerns about the Tribunal’s processes and procedures and proposed changes. The Committee typically holds one meeting during the fiscal year.

The Tribunal also seeks the views of stakeholders on new procedures prior to their implementation by distributing draft guidelines and practice notices. The process is typically to issue the guideline in draft form, to solicit and receive comments from interested parties, and then to discuss the matter with the Committee. These consultative mechanisms allow the Tribunal to remain accessible to various groups of litigants and to take advantage of their points of view on procedures and processes.

Improve Service Delivery

The Tribunal will continue to dedicate significant efforts, based on available resources, to improve the delivery of services to parties and their counsel by leveraging information technology for better, faster and more efficient service. For a number of years, the Tribunal has undertaken initiatives to improve electronic access to information. This focus will continue over the next fiscal year, through a number of projects:

  • Improving Case Management Processes

    The Tribunal has maintained a focus on automating and integrating all the information around a case, with the objective of providing full electronic filing once confidentiality and legal issues have been resolved. The Tribunal has implemented an application (ToolKit) that allows for the electronic compilation of the administrative record in dumping and subsidizing inquiries. The use of the electronic record in the hearing room has shown significant improvement in time management and efficiency throughout the hearing and allows the parties to participate more efficiently in a proceeding.

    In 2006-2007, the Tribunal will integrate the procurement inquiries record to the electronic case file management system. This will facilitate the use of the administrative record by members and staff. Modifications have been made to the ToolKit application presently used in SIMA inquiries. It is expected that ToolKit could be operational in procurement inquiries by the fall of 2006.

  • Implement Electronic Life Cycle Management of Case Files

    The Tribunal has obtained Government On-Line funds of $136,000 ($68,000 in 2004-2005 and $68,000 in 2005-2006) to apply the Policy on the Management of Government Information to SIMA case files in partnership with the CBSA and Library and Archives of Canada. A common shared vision has been developed along with a long-term implementation plan. In this plan, five priorities were identified by the Tribunal: managing electronic communications to and from parties, electronic access to public and protected information, electronic questionnaires, secure channel and document standards and protocols. In 2006-2007 the Tribunal will continue to dedicate efforts to these initiatives and the methodology and lessons learned for managing multi-jurisdiction case files from a business and archival perspective will be shared with other government departments.

  • Improve Scope of Information Available to the Public

    The Tribunal continues to make information available to the public, including access to decisions and reasons for all of the cases heard since its creation, access to news and upcoming cases and information regarding the Tribunal’s mandate and procedures. All of these services are offered in both official languages.

    The Tribunal will continue to investigate initiatives relating to the strategic use of its Web site to communicate with various groups of stakeholders and the public and to ensure that stakeholders have a clear understanding of its jurisdiction. For example, the Web site is used to communicate and distribute certain documents, thus significantly enhancing the quality of services to those participating or interested in the Tribunal’s cases. The Web site allows its users to register, free of charge, for a subscriber alert service that informs them when new documents are posted. It also allows potential suppliers to download a procurement complaint form and interested parties to download and complete electronic versions of Tribunal questionnaires. A repository of all documents produced by the Tribunal allows for research into past decisions. In 2006-2007, the Tribunal intends to provide secure access to the administrative record, for SIMA cases, to counsels and Tribunal staff through its Web site.

  • Audio system for hearing Rooms

    In respect of the Hearing Rooms, the major priority for the Tribunal in 2006-2007 will be to obtain funding to replace the audio systems for hearing rooms. The systems are sufficiently outdated that replacement parts are no longer available.

  • Electronic Questionnaires

    Parties currently have access to questionnaires through the Tribunal Web site and are asked to return the completed electronic questionnaires on diskette or compact disk to the Tribunal. Some respondents submit their completed questionnaires on diskette but have expressed an interest in returning it to the Tribunal via e-mail. The Tribunal does not have a means of accepting secure electronic communications at this time. In fiscal year 2006-2007, the Tribunal plans to have a secure channel in place for electronic communication.

    In 2005-2006, the Tribunal developed functional requirements for the creation of electronic questionnaires that could be completed on line. In 2006-2007, based on having sufficient resources, the Tribunal plans to continue its work to develop a secure system that will host the creation and distribution of questionnaires and the collection of data. Such an approach will substantially reduce the amount of paper to be distributed to parties and interested parties. It would also allow the Tribunal to process responses to questionnaires more efficiently and effectively.

  • Secure Channel

    In 2006-2007 the Tribunal will complete work on a secure channel which will allow acceptance of electronic documents by parties.

Sound Management Practices

The Tribunal is continuing to improve its management practices, building on the results of the capacity assessment of the Tribunal’s management practices completed in 2003-2004 and the subsequent action plan developed in 2004-2005, while recognizing that the improvements will be made over a number of years and are dependent on the Tribunal resource levels. Specific priorities for the upcoming fiscal year include:

  • Integrated Business and Human Resources Planning

    The Tribunal will develop a comprehensive human resources plan aligned with business strategies and objective.

  • Implement an Internal Audit Program

    The Tribunal has little capacity to carry out audit work; nonetheless, it has developed a risk-based internal audit plan, which is followed. In 2005-2006 the Tribunal had planned to conduct the internal audit of the financial function but was unable to do so because of resource constraints. This audit is planned for 2006-2007.

  • Continued Integration of Corporate Systems

    Procurement and salary information has already been integrated into the GX financial system. The focus during 2006-2007 will be on the integration of asset information into the GX financial system, thereby reducing the requirement for duplicate entries, ensuring better data integrity and providing timely information to managers. Also planned for 2006-2007 is the interface between the human resources system and the financial system.

  • Shared Travel Services Initiative

    By the end of 2006-2007, all employees will be able to use the Travel AcXess Voyage portal to manage all travel services from start to finish with addition of the Expense Management Tool.

Invest In Our People

The Tribunal is dedicated to having a motivated and committed workforce. Specific priorities for the upcoming fiscal year include:

  • Implement Human Resources (HR) Continuity Plans

    The Tribunal is developing a comprehensive human resources strategy with the main focus being succession planning. Maintaining continuity in the Tribunal’s corporate knowledge amongst staff will require a sustained focus on training, recruitment, and succession planning. The Tribunal will continue to assess its recruitment approaches and strategies (e.g. by developing a pool of commerce officer development positions) and consider the best approach for transferring Tribunal values and corporate knowledge to new staff.

  • Implement a Learning Strategy

    The Tribunal will maintain a strong focus on learning, for both new and existing staff. The Tribunal will continue to develop in-house training programs, building on its strong traditions of fostering in-house training seminars, developing guides and position papers on special topics, and sharing lessons learned by staff and Members. In 2005-2006, the Tribunal developed training tools for ToolKit (case management system for SIMA files and Procurement inquiries). In 2006-2007, these seminars and tools will be available to all staff and training seminars will be offered on an ongoing basis.

    As part of its action plan for investing in its people, the Tribunal has identified the need to transfer institutional knowledge and values to new staff. One of the measures to achieve this objective is to create a virtual library of in-house training seminars and other training materials that have been developed by the operational areas. In 2006-2007, the application will be available to all branches and they will be able to create their own virtual collection to meet their operational requirements. Another measure will be the development of an in-house orientation program.