Bar Dispute Resolution Group Forum (Counsel Forum)

Minutes of Meeting held on January 31, 2014

Members Present:                                                                                     

Joseph Rizzotto (Chair)
Philippa Samworth
Darrell March
Eric Grossman
Antoniette Alfano,
Tricia Hannigan
Paul Belanger
Jeffrey Kroeker
Catherine Korte
Stanley Pasternak
Andrew Choi
Laura Emmett via teleconference (Lerners Lawyers)
Leanne Zawadzki via teleconference (Lerners Lawyers)
Sonia Fabiani via teleconference (Lerners Lawyers)

FSCO Attendees                                                             

Asfaw Seife
Rosemary Muzzi
John Lobo
Shayna Wiesenfeld
Margaret Orlander
Erika Ciocconi
Christina Pearce
  1. Meeting on November 29, 2013.
    Approved as amended.
  2. E-Calendar Update for Arbitration:
    Starting January 2014, auto-generated letters and notices will be sent to the parties electronically. Also the process of registering users for the enhanced Dispute Resolution Case Directory (DRCD-2) will begin.

    DRCD-2 will allow all parties to report settlements or withdrawal of files, update contact information, access case information in real time and provide access to e-Calendar to book pre-hearings and settlement discussions.

    Arbitration eCalendar will be fully implemented in April 2014. Paper notices of proceedings currently sent by mail will be eliminated and notices will be sent electronically. Until that time, parties will continue to receive both paper and electronic copies.
  3. Private DR Services update:
    A. Seife, Director, DRS provided an update on files assigned to ADR Chambers. File assignments to ADRC increased to 750/month on January 20th. An RFP was posted on January 6th and will close on February 5th. We expect to have a new contract in place by June 2014.  File assignments under the existing contract will cease once the new contract is in place -  so the maximum # of files assigned in a month will remain at 750. The existing contract will remain in place as ADRC will continue to handle the files already assigned. ADRC’s contract has been  extended until March 2016 to allow time for it to close all files assigned.  The new RFP is not a reflection on ADRC. OPS procurement rules require FSCO to issue a new RFP. ADRC is eligible to submit a proposal in response to the new RFP.
  4. DRS Status Report – Statistics and Staffing Updates
    Asfaw Seife, Rosemary Muzzi and John Lobo provided statistical updates for Mediation, Arbitration and Appeals with reference to the reports distributed to members.

Judicial Review:

No updates since September 2013.

Under Staffing:

Mediation Unit:

No updates.

Arbitration Unit:

Two new arbitrators joined December 2013.

Other items:

Standardized consent for IE forms:

Philippa Samworth raised a concern of having many different consent forms from IE providers and a number of refusals by counsel for the insured to have their client attend without pre-approval of the forms. A discussion followed and it was suggested that this item be raised in a separate forum.  M. Orlander agreed to bring the issue to AIPU for further discussion.

Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices(U.D.A.P):

Philippa Samworth suggested that it would be very helpful to have an educational session on the above mentioned matter to raise awareness about the process, how it is working and how we can use it to fight fraud.

MIG Project:

Margaret Orlander provided an update on a meeting that took place on January  17, 2014 with stakeholders who were invited by the experts to attend a presentation highlighting the research findings thus far.  As directed in the 2013 Budget, FSCO will provide the government with an interim report on the progress of the project. Later in the process, FSCO will also seek feedback from auto insurance stakeholders on the recommendations.

Justice Cunningham Report:

A final report with recommendations will be delivered to the Minister of Finance, and released to the public end of February, 2014.
Next Meeting – March 28, 2014