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Scheduling Updates for Toronto and Hamilton Hearing Locations

WSIAT In Focus 21(1) April 2011

Hamilton is one of 10 regional centres where the Tribunal conducts hearings. The Tribunal will continue to hold hearings in Hamilton but, in the near future, parties from the Hamilton area will have their hearings scheduled in either Hamilton or Toronto. This is already currently taking place on a limited basis. The selection of Toronto and Hamilton hearing locations will be made at the time appeals are forwarded to the Scheduling Department.

The Tribunal schedules hearings in 10 locations throughout the province. The Tribunal has a fixed number of adjudicators and resources needed to support the hearings in the regional centres. The parties in other locations are a significant distance from Toronto and do not therefore have an option of coming to Toronto for hearings. Parties in and around Hamilton are a reasonable distance from Toronto and this provides the added option for a Toronto hearing location. The availability of hearings in either Hamilton or Toronto gives the parties an opportunity to have a hearing scheduled in a timely manner.

The Tribunal is focused on reducing the wait time for hearings. By providing two hearing locations, we expect to be able to process cases more smoothly and with shorter wait times for appellants. Parties, including representatives and employers, can anticipate a mix of both Toronto and Hamilton hearing locations. The primary criterion for the selection of the hearing location will be the availability of the next hearing date that can be offered to parties. The Tribunal cannot simply schedule a hearing date in Hamilton based on preference. We will try to accommodate parties scheduled for Toronto hearings.

An example would be to suggest afternoon start times for half day hearings. Details concerning the implementation date for the change will be posted on the Tribunal's website (www.wsiat.on.ca).