SUGGESTED CHANGES TO HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL COULD BE COSTLY: LAWYER
By Susanna Kelley
Suggestions for changes to Ontario's human rights tribunal could drive up the costs of the system and make it less accessible to the average person, according to prominent 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.
Pinto Wray James LLP
The more relaxed rules of evidence are the norm in hundreds of other tribunals across Ontario.
Both sides could lose from implementing more formal rules, Pinto predicted.
Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak promised last month to allow the tribunal, created by the Liberal government in 2008, to dismiss "frivolous complaints at a preliminary stage."
"We will fix the Ontario human rights tribunal," requiring it to use clear rules similar to those used in the courts, he told the Greater Nepean Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Hudak had earlier pledged to scrap the tribunal.