Are You Ready for the AB Mediation Backlog “Fix”?

On May 23, 2012, Tom Golfetto, Executive Director of the FSCO Dispute Resolution Group, issued a letter updating stake holders on the progress of DRS initiatives. The RFP procurement process in nearing completion and he expects that the first set of files will flow to the outsource vendors at the beginning of July. They expect that outsource vendors will be able to handle 2000 mediations per month and 500 arbitrations. This is in addition to the 2,793 mediations being handled per month by FSCO DRG staff. It was conspicuous that Tom’s letter did not give the number of cases currently in backlog but that was estimated at 30,000 (see our previous blog entry)

The problem with the math is that it does not account for the estimated 3,000 new cases coming in per month. If this number stays constant, FSCO staff can only keep up with the new ones and the backlog will be reduced at the rate of 2,000 per month over the next 18 months to 2 years.

The letter is available here.

In any event, the “warning” to be ready for the onslaught echoes my article “When the Dam Bursts”, FSCO warns: “please ensure that you retain additional staff as necessary, so that there are no scheduling delays due to unavailability of your staff”.

Cameron & Associates would be pleased to assist Insurers to resolve this challenge on a long and short term basis. Contact us for more details.

Thank you,

Jim Cameron & Team

Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society Membership

We’re pleased to announce that the President of Cameron & Associates, Jim Cameron, has been accepted as a member of the Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society.

Jim is honoured to be part of such a great group of arbitrators.

From the Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society’s website:

TCAS mission statement

To promote and develop in Toronto a world centre for arbitration excellence to resolve international and domestic disputes by providing

  • qualified arbitrators,
  • exceptional facilities,
  • experienced counsel,
  • innovative research, and
  • a supportive legal environment regardless of the location of the parties or their systems of law.

And to promote the use of arbitration to resolve commercial disputes by

  • developing alliances with other arbitral organizations and centres of learning,
  • sponsoring international conferences featuring preeminent practitioners as speakers,
  • advocating supportive international and domestic legislation, and
  • providing a forum and network for the exchange of ideas on all aspects of international and domestic arbitration
  • promoting and understanding of available rules and arbitral institutions to facilitate commercial arbitration.

Congratulations, Jim!

AB Mediation Backlog

35,000 cases and counting.  What happens when the dam bursts?

Under the current Ontario Insurance Act, if you have a dispute with an Insurer involving the payment of accident benefits under the SABS (Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule), you must file for mediation with the Dispute Resolution Practice Group (DRPG) at FSCO (Financial Services Commission Of Ontario). This mediation must take place before the claimant can proceed to the courts through a law suit or by arbitration (again to be filed with the Dispute Resolution Practice Group).

The Act provides that such mediation shall take place within 60 days of the filing date with FSCO.  FSCO have found themselves facing some staffing issues and an unusual volume of cases being presented which resulted in a backlog of about 35,000 mediations.

The Auditor General of Ontario commented on this situation and FSCO has posted an RFP for outside services to assist in aggressively attacking the backlog.  One of the problems may be, however, what happens when the case is not settled at mediation.  If only 60% settle, 40% of these or 14,000 new cases will appear before the courts or at arbitration within the next few years.  Are we ready?

A great article in the Law Times talks a bit more on this subject.

We can help Insurers to get ready for mediations, and coach on mediation best practices.

Let us know if we can help! 

Thanks for reading,

Jim Cameron

Arbitration Advocacy Presentation

I attended the Arbitration Advocacy presentation by the Advocates Society on March 27th.

This was the first such session presented by the Advocates Society and included a review of the myriad legislation existing both in Canada and Internationally on Commercial Arbitrations. Experienced practitioners discussed cultural and legal system differences that were highlighted by some fascinating tales of intrigue and hijackings of witnesses. It did, as a questioner pointed out, reinforce the value of arbitration in international off shore contractual disputes instead of having to resort to the local courts.

Great session.  I recommend you keep an eye out for more like this.  If you have any questions, please call or email me directly: *protected email* or 416-350-5823

Thanks for reading,

Jim Cameron