Bar Dispute Resolution Group Forum (Counsel Forum)

Minutes of Meeting held on March 22, 2013


Members Present:                                                                          

Joseph Rizzotto (Chair)                                     Stanley Pasternak via telephone     
Scott Croteau                                                 Shirline Apiou via telephone
Catherine Zingg                                               Kelly Tranquilli via telephone
Jeff Shinehoff
Antonietta Alfano
Lina Grasso
Eric Grossman

FSCO Attendees                                                    Guests:                                     

Asfaw Seife                                                    Victor Cherniavsky
Elizabeth Nastasi                                              Francisco Liu
Janine Macey
Shayna Wiesenfeld
Margaret Orlander
Sabina Kourktchan
Christina Pearce
  1. Meeting on January 25, 2013.
    Approved as amended.
  2. E-Calendar for Arbitration Demo/Stakeholders Consultations:
    V. Cherniavsky (Systems Development Consultant, CSD), F. Liu (Project Manager, CSD), and J. Macey (Senior Arbitrator) did a presentation on the E-Calendar for the Arbitration Unit to book meetings using an online scheduling system. This will help to reduce arbitration wait time providing efficient services to the parties; a
    llow flexibility in booking, including over-bookings, to optimally use the availability of arbitrators; allow parties to check schedules from home and on-the-go; cuts back on telephone calls, faxes, letters, and other administrative functions between both parties and between both parties and FSCO. This will be cost-saving to both FSCO and the parties.

    Target “go live” is voluntary in Fall 2013 and mandatory in Winter 2013.

    As this is the first time system demo and consultation, FSCO is looking for parties’ input. Parties will be informed on the progress during the project implementation. FSCO will be looking forward to invite some pilot companies at the soft launch stage.
  3. Private DR Services update:
    A. Seife, Director, Dispute Resolution Services Branch, provided an update on ADR Chambers. Up to 2000 mediation files are continuing to be shipped out per month. As of February 28 the backlog was down to 12,762.  It was 29,142 on March 31, 2012. This clearing of the backlog is contributing to a spike in arbitrations. 500 arbitrations files are continued to be sent out to ADR Chambers on a monthly basis. As of the end of February, ADR Chambers had conducted 68 pre-hearings.  Lots of pre-hearings booked are going forward. The most recent file pickup was on Monday, March 18th.

    A. Seife also informed members that ADR Chambers is sending out (electronic) feedback surveys to parties following the conclusion of mediation and encouraged members to complete and return the surveys as it is a good way for ADR to improve their service, and a good way for FSCO to get feedback on ADR’s work.

    A. Seife reminded members that if they have any complaints or issues with ADR Chambers to contact Isobel Fealdman either by phone or email.
  4. Greening Initiatives Update/Summons to Witness:           
    Elizabeth N., Senior Arbitrator, informed members that Summons to Witness, Form N, is available in a downloadable, fillable format on the FSCO internet site.  In the near future, members will be able to email to a general email box for electronic signature by an arbitrator.

    Elizabeth N. also encouraged members to use web/video conferencing using Microsoft LYNC to participate in Companies Forum meeting.
  5. Consent Dismissal Orders:
    Janine M. Senior Arbitrator advised that DR was collaborating with Legal and HR about the possibility of restricting the conditions under which consent dismissal orders may be issued in future.  The backlog of files awaiting signature continues.  
  6. DRS Status Report – Statistics and Staffing Updates
    Asfaw Seife, Elizabeth Nastasi and Elizabeth Faggiani provided statistical updates for Mediation, Arbitration and Appeals with reference to the reports distributed to members.

    Judicial Review:
    Updates since January 2013 were provided in a memo from Asfaw Seife to Forum members and reviewed.

    Under Staffing:

    Arbitration Unit:
    Two arbitrators have retired at the end of the month and therefore two arbitrators’ positions will be posted shortly.
  7. Other Business:
Catastrophic Impairment Update:
Margaret Orlander, Senior Policy Consultant, AIPU advised members that the Ministry of Finance organized a round table meeting last week with a small group of stakeholders to better understand perspectives and determine whether there was any opportunities for consensus on issues associated with catastrophic impairment.
The Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force:
Margaret Orlander advised members that the new Premiere has accepted the recommendations of the final report.
Next Meeting – May 31, 2013