Dispute Resolution Group-Companies Forum

Minutes of Meeting January 10, 2013

Attendees:                                                                          FSCO:

Mike De La Haye: Wawanesa (Chair)                           Elizabeth Nastasi        
Mark Cekuta: Unifund                                               John Lobo
Pierre Gravesande: Economical                                   Isobel Fealdman 
Pamela Ground: Dominion                                           Shayna Wiesenfeld
Nathan Hall: Belair                                                    Erin Nam
Janice Hedington: The Co-operators                                           
Bessie Ho: TD Insurance                       
James Kempf: The Personal Ins./Certas Direct           
Suilan Lue: DGIG                                                       
Jeff McComb: Aviva Canada Inc.                                                    
Bethany Pereira: Wawanesa
Barry Rosenthal: Belair
Tim Slaats: Aviva Canada
Kim Thoms: Royal & Sun Alliance                              
Linda Watson: TD Insurance
Robb Walker: Belair
The Dispute Resolution Group – Companies Forum includes representative from auto insurance companies dealing with disputes before the Commission involving motor vehicle accident claims and Statutory Accident Benefits. It consults with the Dispute Resolution Group of Financial Services Commission of Ontario on issues relating to the dispute resolution system.
  1. Review and Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting – September 20, 2012
    Approved without amendments. 

    Matters Arising from the Minutes
  2. E-Calendar/DRCD for Arbitration                                             
    Elizabeth N. (Senior Arbitrator) discussed the launching of E-Calendar in Arbitration Unit, with an expected start date of late spring 2013, and becoming mandatory by the fall of 2013. A demo at companies and counsel forum, will be held before the go live date.
  3. Court of Appeal Decision and Impacts on Process                   
    Further to the Ontario Court of Appeals Decision on November 29, 2012, John L. (Manager, Mediation Unit) provided an update on the process impacts for mediation. Applications filed on or after November 29, 2012, are being processed and assigned the E-Calendar within a couple of days of receipt. Parties who filed applications for mediation with FSCO more than 60 days ago were reminded to submit a form to FSCO, which is on the website indicating that they either jointly agrees to extend the time for mediation, or that either party wishes to receive a failed Report of Mediator. If FSCO does not receive this form from parties, by default, their applications at this time will remain in queue for assignment to a mediator. A reminder that wait-time for mediation is expected to decrease as ADR is continuing to receive up to 2,000 mediation files per month.

    Elizabeth N. gave an update on procedures for incoming arbitration files where there is no Report of Mediator issued. These files are being processed through the normal procedure but the Manager in Arbitration Support Units have been making individual calls before they proceed to further processes. Further changes on procedures are being developed on these files.
  4. Arbitration Pre-Hearings and Parties’ Advance Submission of Materials
    Notification to remind that there should be no Advance Submission of Materials is attached to the schedulers for parties as more than 90% of cases settle.
  5. Greening Initiatives                                                                           
    For more environmentally friendliness, ways to reduce use of paper were discussed by Elizabeth N. Use of electronic communication for sending out registration letters such as emails was suggested but will need further consideration due to privacy issues. Parties also have been informed to discontinue sending multiple copies. Also, web/video conferencing using Microsoft LYNC will be tested in upcoming Counsel meeting.

    Mediation Unit has been encouraging parties and will be sending out a reminder to only submit relevant documentation with the Application for Mediation or Response Form, and not extensive briefs or entire files.
  6. Private DR Services Update                                                                      
    Isobel F., Director, Strategic & Operational Planning provided an update on ADR Chambers for three months. Up to 2000 mediation files/ month have been shipped out since September and sent up to 500 arbitration files/ month since October. To date ADR Chambers has received 8,000 mediation files and 1,500 arbitration files. There have not been any major complaints on their service. A discussion followed in regards to enquiries and suggestions during the meeting which would be followed up by the ADR Chambers.
  7. DRS Status Report – Statistics and Staffing Updates           
    John Lobo, and Elizabeth Nastasi provided statistical updates for Mediation, Arbitration and Appeals with reference to the reports distributed to members.

    Judicial Review:
    Updates since September 2012 were provided in a memo from Asfaw Seife to Forum members and reviewed.

    Under Staffing:

    Mediation Unit:
    Mediator competition completed and both permanent and backfilled positions have been filled. Competition for a manager in mediation support unit and a team leader will be posted shortly.
  8. Other Business 

    Independent adjuster and mediation process at FSCO:
    There was a discussion regarding independent adjusters and their authority to participate in FSCO DRS processes and under the exemptions in the Law Society Act.

    New Pilot Initiative: Adjournment/rescheduling process
    John L. provided an overview of 6 month pilot initiative adjournment/rescheduling process effective January 2, 2013 which only applies to those mediation files where a mediation date has been scheduled and the file has been assigned to a mediator. It is anticipated that this initiative will reduce the number of late adjournment/rescheduling requests, ensure mediations will proceed as scheduled, further reducing the backlog while freeing up mediator time from dealing with the administrative duties of re-scheduling mediation meetings. This initiative will also assist in collecting information to curtail potential abuse of process and in determining whether a more formal adjournment process in mediation needs to be put in place. An objection regarding this initiative raised by an insurer was discussed.

    2013 Meeting Schedules:
    March 21, 2013
    May 30, 2013
    September 26, 2013
    November 28, 2013

    Minutes by Erin Nam