Bar Dispute Resolution Group Forum (Counsel Forum)

Minutes of Meeting held on May 30, 2014

Members Present:                                                                          

Joseph Rizzotto (Chair)
Philippa Samworth
Catherine Zingg
Audrey Ramsay
Michelle Friedman
Alex Voudouris
Scott Croteau
Sharla Bandoquillo
Adam Fox
Tricia Hannigan

FSCO Attendees                                                    

Asfaw Seife
Janine Macey
John Lobo
J.R. Richards
Shayna Wiesenfeld
Margaret Orlander
Christina Pearce
  1. Meeting on March 28, 2014.
    Approved as amended.
  2. E-Calendar for Arbitration Demonstration:
    Senior Arbitrator J. Macey updated members that registration for access to the new Dispute Resolution Services Portal is now available to all insurance companies and law firms. The portal includes both the enhanced Dispute Resolution Case Directory (DRCD-2) and the new Arbitration E-Calendar. The employees of insurance companies and law firms, lawyers, and licensed paralegals who have not yet registered will have equal access to all of the Portal’s enhanced functionality. In addition, applicants with open arbitration files at FSCO will be given access to their own files on a readonly basis, as long as they have provided an email address in the Application for Arbitration.
 Once registered for the DRS Portal, users will be able to:
  • Book arbitration prehearings and settlement discussions
  • Report arbitration withdrawals and settlements on consent
  • See more information about their files, such as file status, next scheduled events, and notices of proceedings
  • Selfadminister a Firm’s access to the Portal (including the Arbitration ECalendar)
  • Download, search and sort file information in real time

Firms are encouraged to register now and become familiar with the Portal’s functions. While participation remains voluntary during this pilot phase, FSCO intends to conclude the pilot phase on July 2, 2014, at which time participation in the DRS Portal will become mandatory for law firms and insurance companies.


  1. DRS Status Report – Statistics and Staffing Updates
    Asfaw Seife, Janine Macey and John Lobo provided statistical updates for Mediation, Arbitration and Appeals with reference to the reports distributed to members.

    Judicial Review:
    Updates since March 28, 2014 were provided in a memo from Asfaw Seife to Forum members and reviewed.


    Mediation Unit:
    J. Lobo provided a staffing update that two fixed-term mediator positions have been posted and will be filled through competition. The fixed-term team leader position will be posted shortly.  

    Arbitration Unit:
    J. Macey provided a staffing update that 3 arbitrators’ open positions have been posted temporary up to one year with possible extension.

Other items:

Scheduling of Pre-Hearing with ADR Chambers/Booking of Hearing Rooms Locations outside of Toronto:
A couple of ADR process issues were raised. One member expressed concern that she was required to find a location for an out-of-town location herself rather than ADR, Another member advised that  ADR Chambers gives them only 5 days to book a pre-hearing from notification, after which a date is arbitrarily picked, which creates a lot of issues especially pertaining to scheduling. Members were advised that their concerns will be communicated to Isobel Fealdman, the Project Director who was not present at the meeting, and that they should also direct them to ADRC. 
Motions: The Arbitration Unit is piloting a monthly motions day to address the increasing volume of motions for removal from the record and productions. Decisions will be rendered orally or by letter. Further discussion will occur at a future forum meeting.
Election of New Chair:  Members continued the meeting in private to elect a new chair for the next two years (May 2014 to May 2016).

Next Meeting – October 3, 2014