Bar Dispute Resolution Group Forum (Counsel Forum)

Minutes of Meeting held on November 29, 2013     

Members Present:                                                                                     

Joseph Rizzotto (Chair)     
Alex Voudouris
Jessica Abramovitch
Eric Grossman
Paul Belanger
Audrey Ramsay
Catherine Korte

FSCO Attendees                                                             

Asfaw Seife
Rosemary Muzzi
John Lobo
Shayna Wiesenfeld
Christina Pearce
  1. Meeting on September 27, 2013.
    Approved as amended.
  2. E-Calendar Update for Arbitration:
    A. Seife, Director, DRS updated members on the phased implementation of the arbitration electronic scheduling system – Arbitration eCalendar which will allow parties to receive legal notices of proceedings from FSCO electronically, to book arbitration pre-hearings and settlement discussions and to manage their files online. This phased implementation is now being tested by a caseworker using live cases. He is checking the FSCO Arbitration letters and notices to parties that will be auto-generated and sent electronically to parties with email addresses registered with FSCO. Later FSCO will begin the process of registering users for the enhanced Dispute Resolution Case Directory (DRCD-2), the portal which will provide access to the Arbitration eCalendar. 

    Training and orientation will be provided to Insurance Companies and their staff. Suggestions were made that an online tutorial; quick webinar training and a toll free number be made available to answer various enquiries.

    Senior Arbitrator J. Macey asked that if members have any comments or concerns that they be directed to her.
  3. Private DR Services update:
    A. Seife, Director, DRS provided an update on files assigned to ADR Chambers. The mediation backlog was eliminated as of August 19, 2013. The clearing of the mediation backlog is contributing to the high volume of new arbitration files. FSCO is continuing to assign an average of 500 arbitrations files per month to ADR Chambers.
  4. Consent Dismissal Orders:
    As part of FSCO’s ongoing efforts to increase efficiency, the Dispute Resolution Practice Code was amended effective November 1, 2013, to allow for Consent Dismissal Orders (CDOs) in a limited set of circumstances only.

    There was some discussion at the meeting on the purpose, the process and what circumstances might be considered.
  5. Pre-Hearing Issues:
    The current shortage of arbitrators has resulted in prehearings being overbooked. Parties are been contacted to reschedule where possible or to commence discussions on their own until an arbitrator could be made available to assist them.
  6. DRS Status Report – Statistics and Staffing Updates
    Asfaw Seife and John Lobo provided statistical updates for Mediation, Arbitration and Appeals with reference to the reports distributed to members.

Judicial Review:

No updates since May 30, 2013.


Under Staffing:

Mediation Unit:

Vacant team leader position will be proceeding through the recruitment process.
Vacant manager mediation support position is not being filled at this time.       

Arbitration Unit:

Two new arbitrators joined November 2013. And two new arbitrators are anticipated to start in December 2013 pending approvals.
Next Meeting – January 31, 2014