To streamline processes, the mediation team launched a pilot project in 2022 where parties in select sole-issue appeals were invited to participate in a half-day teleconference. The goal was to resolve the appeal during or shortly after the teleconference. Almost all of the institutions contacted had great interest in participating as they recognized the benefits of avoiding a lengthy back and forth through protracted discussions and correspondence between the parties, with a view to enhancing the likelihood of a quick resolution when all parties work together in real-time.
This project was a resounding success, with 90 per cent of files resolved before, on the day of, or shortly after the teleconference. On average, these files took 75 per cent less time to process relative to files that proceeded through the regular mediation stream. Both appellants and institutions enthusiastically endorsed this shortened process for appropriate files. The team looks forward to expanding on the success of this project in the year ahead.
IPC introduces e-appeals
In August 2022, and as part of our efforts to modernize and provide digital services to Ontarians, the IPC launched a new service for filing and paying for appeals online, making it easier for people to file an appeal with our office — online, anytime. Since the launch of this new online service, we have seen a rapid uptake in the number of appellants who have taken advantage of this convenient means to submit and pay for their FIPPA and MFIPPA appeals. From August to December 2022, the IPC received 275 appeals (51 per cent) electronically compared to 264 (49 per cent) through other methods.
Updates to M/FIPPA Code of Procedure
Throughout 2022, the IPC undertook a thorough review of its FIPPA and MFIPPA Code of Procedure and associated practice directions. These key documents that guide the appeals process had not undergone a significant review and revision since 2004.
Since then, the tribunal has embraced the use of electronic methods of communication and records submission which require revisions to the code of procedure. The code of procedure also needs to better reflect the current state of the tribunal’s operations and procedures, which have evolved to become more streamlined and efficient while still respecting rules of procedural fairness. We expect to implement a new code of procedure in 2023, following a reasonable advance public notice period.