Annual report March 31, 2019 - Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Organization and Activities

The Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body that carries out its responsibilities in an independent and impartial manner. It reports to Parliament through the Minister of Finance. The Tribunal’s strategic outcome is the fair, timely and transparent disposition of its cases.

How the Tribunal Does Its Work

The Tribunal is a court of record and has the powers, rights and privileges as are vested in a superior court with regard to procedural matters necessary or proper for the due exercise of its jurisdiction. For instance, the Tribunal can subpoena witnesses and require parties to produce information. At the same time, however, the Tribunal carries out its proceedings as informally and expeditiously as the circumstances and considerations of fairness permit.

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. Access to companies’ confidential information is strictly controlled. Protecting confidential information against unauthorized disclosure is extremely important for the Tribunal.

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 headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, but may be held elsewhere in Canada depending on the specific circumstances of a given case. Parties may also participate in electronic hearings (e.g. through video conferencing technology). The Tribunal may also base its decisions solely on the written information filed before it or collected during the proceedings without a hearing.

The Tribunal has little control over the volume and complexity of its workload and faces tight statutory deadlines for most of its cases. The Tribunal’s Web site serves as a repository of all information relating to decisions and their accompanying statements of reasons.

The Tribunal receives case-related support services from staff of the CITT Secretariat of the ATSSC. The ATSSC also provides the Tribunal with corporate services and facilities.

Members of the Tribunal

The Tribunal may be composed of up to seven full-time permanent members, including the Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson. The Chairperson assigns cases to members and manages the Tribunal’s work. Permanent members are appointed by the Governor in Council for a term of up to five years, which can be renewed once. Up to five temporary members may also be appointed. Members have a variety of educational backgrounds and experience.

Mr. Jean Bédard is the Chairperson of the Tribunal. He was appointed to this position on May 3, 2018. This year also saw the appointment of a Vice-Chairperson, Ms. Rose Ann Ritcey, on March 4, 2019. The other permanent members of the Tribunal as of March 31, 2019 were Ms. Susan Beaubien, Ms. Cheryl Beckett, Mr. Georges Bujold and Mr. Peter Burn. Ms. Beaubien, Ms. Beckett and Mr. Bujold were appointed during the fiscal year. Ms. Ann Penner and Mr. Serge Fréchette, former permanent members, were reappointed to temporary member positions and served in that capacity during the year. Mr. Randolph W. Heggart was also appointed as a temporary member in June 2018. Ms. Caterina Ardito-Toffolo was also a temporary member during the months of October, November and December 2018.

Outreach

The Tribunal’s Advisory Committee is made up of a cross-section of legal counsel, business associations and governmental officials. Its purpose is to provide recommendations to enhance the accessibility, fairness and transparency of the Tribunal’s rules and procedures. It provided its annual report to the Tribunal on May 3, 2018. The Tribunal responded on July 19, 2018, and commented on the recommendations.

The Tribunal met with the Advisory Committee once during the year. A meeting scheduled for the fall of 2018 was postponed due to the exceptionally heavy trade remedies hearing schedule. The Tribunal will continue working with the Advisory Committee to reduce costs and enhance fairness and accessibility for all parties, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses.

The Chairperson spoke at the annual World Customs Law Meeting in September 2018 and spoke on a panel at the International Bar Association in October 2018. He also spoke at a colloquium for students in the Master of Public and International Affairs Program at Glendon College (York University) in Toronto, in October 2018.