Introduction to the Tribunal
Canada is a trading nation, and international trade makes a significant contribution to Canada’s economic well-being. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (the Tribunal) plays a central role in administering some of the important international and Canadian rules that govern trade.
The Tribunal is an independent quasi-judicial body that reports to Parliament through the Minister of Finance.
The Tribunal is mandated to act within five key areas:
- Anti-dumping Injury Inquiries
- To inquire into and decide whether dumped and/or subsidized imports have caused, or are threatening to cause, injury to a domestic industry
- Procurement Inquiries
- To inquire into complaints by potential suppliers concerning procurement by the federal government and decide whether the federal government breached its obligations under certain trade agreements to which Canada is party
- Customs and Excise Appeals
- To hear and decide appeals of decisions of the Canada Border Services Agency made under the Customs Act and the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) and of the Minister of National Revenue made under the Excise Tax Act
- Economic and Tariff Inquiries
- To inquire into and provide advice on such economic, trade and tariff issues as are referred to the Tribunal by the Governor in Council or the Minister of Finance
- Safeguard Inquiries
- To inquire into complaints by domestic producers that increased imports are causing, or threatening to cause, injury to domestic producers and, as directed, make recommendations to the Government on an appropriate remedy
HOW THE TRIBUNAL DOES ITS WORK
The Tribunal has the powers of a superior court; some of its rules and procedures are similar to those of a court of law. At the same time, however, the Tribunal applies its rules and procedures in a less formal manner to promote accessibility, transparency and fairness.
The Tribunal provides individuals and businesses with the opportunity to submit their evidence and views and to respond to other parties before it makes a final decision. It often uses requests for information and questionnaires to gather information during its proceedings.
Frequently, the Tribunal holds hearings to allow parties to call witnesses and explain their points of view and present arguments. Hearings are open to the public and are usually held at the Tribunal’s offices in Ottawa, Ontario, but may be held elsewhere in Canada depending on the specific circumstances of a given case. The Tribunal may also base its decisions solely on the written information filed before it or collected during the proceedings.
The Tribunal has the power to subpoena witnesses and require parties to submit information, even if it is commercially confidential. Access to companies’ confidential information is strictly controlled. Protecting confidential information against unauthorized disclosure is of utmost importance to the Tribunal.
The Tribunal has little control over the volume and complexity of its workload and faces tight statutory deadlines for most of its cases.
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