|Author||Wright, David A.|
|Journal||Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal|
Since the 2008 revisions to the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) has been responsible for providing fair, accessible, effective and timely resolution of human rights complaints. The author, formerly vice-chair of the HRTO, reviews the implementation and oper- ation of that system over its first five years, highlighting key challenges and the HRTO's responses to them. The author describes the principal stages of the current HRTO process, including applications and responses, mediation, and the hearing on the merits. He also outlines the ongoing restructuring of Ontario's administrative justice system into clusters, the development of a sum- mary hearings procedure, the use of litigation guardians, and efforts to control misuse of the system by vexatious litigants. In his view, the figures to date show progress in the areas of access to justice and efficient caseload management, but much remains to be done. Budget pressures make it difficult to fund such resource-heavy initiatives as active review of files, early case management, and the refining of the HRTO's processes to make them more accessible to appli- cants. The experience of the HRTO since 2008 can offer significant guidance in the design offuture direct access systems in human rights and other areas of administrative justice.