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ARCHIVED - RPP 2007-2008
Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

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Section 1 Overview

1.1 Chairperson's Message

Again in 2006, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal handled one of its heaviest caseloads in its history. The Tribunal also continues to face the significant challenges of handling cases in which many parties, typically complainants, appear before the Tribunal without legal representation because they cannot afford it.

The case management system implemented by the Tribunal in 2005 responds to the needs of unrepresented parties, while also ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the inquiry process. At a very early stage in the inquiry process, a teleconference is conducted by a member of the Tribunal with all the parties and/or their counsel. During the teleconference, the member explains the Tribunal's pre-hearing process and hearing process and what is required from the parties. The member also sets time frames agreed to by the parties for document and witness disclosure and for hearing dates. In addition to explaining the Tribunal's hearing process, case management is designed to ensure that complaints are heard and decided without undue delay.

In 2007-2008, the Tribunal will continue to monitor its new case management process. We will also be planning further enhancements to our automated case management system, called the Tribunal Toolkit, which was installed in 2005 to enhance information retrieval efficiency and data integrity. As well, the Tribunal will be working toward achieving certification of its information technology platform, in accordance with the new government's Management of Information Technology Security Initiative.

The Tribunal remains well positioned to continue to offer a full, fair and timely hearing process.

J. Grant Sinclair signature
J. Grant Sinclair

1.2 Management Representation Statement


I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2007-2008 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) for the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2007-2008 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance;
  • It is based on the Tribunal's Strategic Outcome(s) and Program Activity Architecture that were approved by the Treasury Board;
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information;
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it; and
  • It reports finances based on approved planned spending numbers from the Treasury Board Secretariat.

J. Grant Sinclair signature
Name: J. Grant Sinclair

Title: Chairperson

Date: February 20, 2007

1.3 Summary Information

Raison d'être - The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body that hears complaints of discrimination referred by the Canadian Human Rights Commission and determines whether the activities complained of violate the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA). The purpose of the Act is to protect individuals from discrimination and to promote equal opportunity. The Tribunal also decides cases brought under the Employment Equity Act and, pursuant to section 11 of the CHRA, determines allegations of wage disparity between men and women doing work of equal value in the same establishment.

Financial Resources (Millions)







Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)







The Tribunal's priorities are largely dictated by its singular adjudicative mission:

Individuals have equal access, as determined by the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act, to the opportunities that exist in Canadian society through the fair and equitable adjudication of human rights and employment equity cases that are brought before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

We will therefore continue to do what we do well: provide Canadians with a fair and efficient inquiry process through the adjudication of human rights disputes. Tribunal members will provide well reasoned decisions and, where appropriate, order suitable remedies for those who have suffered discrimination. The Tribunal's decisions will also provide guidance and direction to employers and service providers on the development of policies and practices that are consistent with respect to human rights.

In addition to its usual business, the Tribunal plans to pursue the priorities summarized in the following chart:

Tribunal Priorities—Program Activity: Public Hearings under the Canadian Human Rights Act


Planned Spending

Expected Results




Priority 1

Monitor Tribunal inquiry performance targets.


Performance measurements confirmed. An efficient inquiry process.




Priority 2

Undertake a Management Accountability Framework assessment.


Modern public service management that fully support s accountability and results for Canadians.




Priority 3

Align the Tribunal's record management system and platform with government information and technology management policies.


Efficient and effective management of government information.




1.4 Tribunal Plans and Priorities

Priority 1. Monitor Tribunal inquiry performance targets.

Planned activities

Results and time lines

Monitor the Tribunal's case management initiative and, if appropriate, adjust measures.

Measures confirmed or re-established, by March 2008, that appropriately assess the timeliness, effectiveness and efficiency of the inquiry process.

The Tribunal has established three leading targets for ensuring the timely and effective delivery of its inquiry process:

  • begin hearings within six months of receiving a complaint referral in 80 percent of cases;
  • render decisions within four months of the close of a hearing in 90 percent of cases; and
  • conclude inquiries within 12 months of referral in 80 percent of cases.

Statistics compiled for 2006 indicate that the Tribunal continues to have difficulty achieving these targets. This is largely because of three main factors: the unusually high number of inquiries currently before the Tribunal; a significant number of litigants appearing before the Tribunal without legal representation; and the level of complexity that has evolved in human rights cases.

The high number of cases currently before the Tribunal is a holdover from a tripling of referrals experienced in 2003 and maintained in 2004. From 1996 to 2002, the Tribunal opened an average of 44 case files a year, based on human rights complaints referred by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. In 2003, the number of case files opened rose dramatically to 130 and increased even more in 2004 to 139, before dropping to 99 in 2005 and to 70 in 2006. Commission representatives advise that the volume of complaint referrals is expected to decrease further toward pre-2003 levels within the next few years.

The Tribunal’s new case management model is designed to respond to the other two factors. The model was developed and implemented in early 2005. This process comprises a series of teleconferences with a Tribunal member who instructs the parties in meeting their pre-hearing obligations, such as disclosure, particulars of the complaint, and the identification of witnesses and experts. The member’s intervention at this stage of the inquiry also helps to resolve preliminary issues that would otherwise need to be addressed at the time of the hearing of the complaint.

Some human rights complaints raise factual and/or legal issues of such complexity and importance that a rush to hearing is neither feasible nor desirable. The necessary delay has a severe impact on the Tribunal’s performance measures. Nevertheless, hearings now are unfolding more efficiently, unconstrained by the quagmire of procedural issues and objections that, before the new case management system, often resulted in postponements and additional expense.

It has become evident as well that the expert intervention of a Tribunal member at the early stages of an inquiry greatly assists litigants who, without professional legal representation (apart from assistance offered by the Commission), must grapple with the exigencies of a complex quasi-judicial process. And, despite the high number of case files now before the Tribunal, we anticipate that hearing time frames will be met at the earliest convenience of the parties. The Tribunal will continue to monitor its case management procedures for optimum effectiveness and efficiency of the inquiry process.

Priority 2. Undertake a Management Accountability Framework a ssessment.

Planned activities

Results and time lines

Review management practices at the Tribunal for their adequacy in supporting the Tribunal's mandate, and integrate human resource s plan ning into the Tribunal's business plan framework.

The Tribunal's management practices assign clear accountability, are managed with probity and reflect public service values, by March 2008.

The Management Accountability Framework was established by the Treasury Board Secretariat as a guideline and a set of standards for management expectations in the public service. In 20062007, the Tribunal reviewed its management practices and policies to ensure their soundness and relevance in supporting Modern Comptrollership, Human Resources Management Modernization, Service Improvement and Government On-Line. The Tribunal took steps to ensure its human resources plan reflects public service values and ethics and demonstrates clear linkages with the Tribunal’s business and strategic planning.

Further to the coming into force of the Public Service Employment Act in December 2005, the Tribunal has focused efforts on ensuring transparency and a better understanding of the new appointment process and the way that merit is applied. Through information sharing and collaborative initiatives with other federal government departments and central agencies, we have ensured that the necessary guidance and tools are available to support the Tribunal’s managers in fulfilling their new modern management responsibilities.

The Tribunal has also reviewed its information management and decision-making practices to ensure access to and use of integrated information for corporate decision-making at all levels within the organization, including those taken at the senior management level. This has included an examination of the Tribunal’s full suite of policies, with a view to assuring its success in supporting the government’s horizontal initiatives such as representativeness, workforce capacity-building, linguistic rights, stewardship and accountability.

In 20062007, with guidance from the government’s central agencies and through partnerships with other small agencies, the Tribunal also completed a business continuity plan and began developing a system for internal audit and program evaluation.

These initiatives present daunting challenges for a small organization like the Tribunal. We are nevertheless confident that the collaboration, information sharing and partnerships that are becoming more readily available within the federal government will enable us to fully achieve an effective management accountability framework in 20072008 without unduly constraining the Tribunal’s most important activity, the adjudication of human rights and employment equity complaints.

Priority 3. Align the Tribunal's record management system and platform with government information and technology management policies.

Planned activities

Results and time lines

Enhance the Tribunal’s Records, Documents and Information Management System and attain certification of the Tribunal’s information technology platform.

The Tribunal’s information classification and retrieval and its supporting technology platform sustain business delivery improvement, legal and government policy compliance, citizen access, and accountability, by March 2008.

Managing information is a crucial element of all federal government activities and an important part of the Tribunal’s responsibilities. The government’s Framework for the Management of Information (FMI) provides strategic direction and practical guidance. It describes why and how to integrate the management of information with a wide range of Government of Canada activities to improve business delivery, legal and policy compliance, citizen access, and accountability.

In 20062007, the Tribunal enhanced its FMI compliance capability by implementing the government’s Records, Documents and Information Management System (RDIMS) for management of its corporate records. RDIMS also offers records imaging, optical character recognition, full-text indexing search and retrieval, workflow, an on-line document viewer, and reporting capabilities. RDIMS also creates an opportunity for linking it with the Tribunal’s automated system for management of its operational case files, called the Tribunal Toolkit, by 2008–2009. Having these systems able to exchange information will enhance information retrieval and strengthen the Tribunal’s strategy for assuring data source integrity and business continuity.

The Tribunal has also submitted an action plan to the Treasury Board Secretariat and has had ongoing consultations with the central agencies to meet the new government’s Management of Information Technology Security (MITS) requirement. Further certifications and accreditations are the next steps to fully ensure the integrity of the Tribunal’s information technology platform and to attain MITS certification in 20072008.

1.5 Links to the Government of Canada Outcome Areas

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s mandate consists of a single program, the determination of complaints of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, including allegations of wage disparity under section 11 of the Act and the adjudication of cases brought under the Employment Equity Act. This adjudication process provides Canadian society with decisions that serve as guidance and direction for the development of policies and practices that are consistent with the objectives of those acts. Decisions rendered by the Tribunal also serve to contribute to the new government’s strategic outcome of creating a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion, as well as promoting the advancement of a more equal society through the fair adjudication of human rights and employment equity cases.