From the Chairperson — Introducing the Case Flow Initiative
I am very pleased to introduce the Case Flow Initiative. Its objective is to promote access to justice by reducing delays and resolving disputes as quickly and as efficiently as possible while maintaining the highest standards, as the Board fulfils its mandate.
The Case Flow Initiative’s guiding principles
- Timely access to justice - dedicated resources reduce delays and resolve disputes as quickly and efficiently as possible without sacrificing quality, from when a file is received to when it is resolved.
- Stakeholder engagement - ideas are shared with and feedback is sought continuously from stakeholders.
- Transparency - progress, new processes, and results are communicated regularly.
The goal, and how we’ll reach it
The Case Flow Initiative builds on the Board’s existing case management tools and efforts so that ultimately, those seeking access to justice will be supported, now and in the future. As we build on those existing tools and efforts, new technologies will be integrated. This will improve the Board’s case management modernization drive and will enable the analysis of trends and of the impact on case management effectiveness. All aspects of case processing will be supported with dedicated resources.
The Case Management Initiative includes the ongoing analysis of our caseload, registry systems, and mediation and hearing processes, with the goal of creating concise and measurable objectives and of tracking results. We will examine different ways of conducting our operations, such as earlier and more consistent case evaluation and management and alternative scheduling approaches, along with different dispute resolution methods.
A great deal of planning and effort took place to launch the Case Flow Initiative. A critical component to ensure its success will be consistent, transparent, and ongoing engagement with our stakeholders. This includes seeking feedback, sharing ideas, and providing progress updates throughout each phase.
I look forward to seeing the Case Flow Initiative come to fruition!
Introduction to the Multi Docket Scheduling System Pilot
The Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB) is committed to improving access to justice, and to the effective and timely resolution of labour relations disputes. New ways of scheduling cases will assist the FPSLREB in achieving this objective. Among these new scheduling approaches is the Multi Docket Scheduling System Pilot project, the principles of which are outlined below. As the pilot proceeds, we will continue to consult with the parties at regular intervals.
Multi Docket Scheduling System – How does it work?
- Two or more cases will be scheduled for the same week of hearing. The cases will be assigned a specific order/sequence (Case # 1, Case # 2, etc.). Parties will be given at least four months’ notice of any multi docket schedule.
- At the discretion of the Board, joint requests to change the order assigned to the cases may be accepted.
- Case Management Conferences (CMC) for all cases identified in the multi docket schedule may be held at an appropriate interval prior to the hearing.
- If the first case to be heard (Case #1) does not proceed or does not require all the days scheduled, the second case (Case #2) will proceed.
- The parties to Case #2 will be given as much notice as possible as to its start time, and not less than 24 hours’ notice, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
- If Case #2 does not proceed and is not settled or withdrawn, it will be returned to the scheduling queue.
- A rescheduled multi docket case will become Case #1 should it be part of any future multi docket schedule. In general, where a multi docket case requires a continuation (or being placed back on the schedule prior to initiation of proceedings) this will be given priority.
- No case will commence initial proceedings after 9:30 AM of the final scheduled day.
- All piloted multi docket cases will proceed by videoconference.
- All piloted multi docket cases will be selected from among NCR cases.
Settlement Conference Pilot
The Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB) will be scheduling Settlement Conferences as a pilot project starting in March 2022. The principles of this pilot are outlined below.
This initiative is part of the Board’s commitment to improve access to justice and increase the use of different dispute resolution mechanisms. As the pilot proceeds, we will continue to consult with the parties at regular intervals.
Settlement Conference Pilot – How does it work?
- 1. A settlement conference is a confidential meeting between the parties in the presence of a Board member.
- 2. Upon review of a case, the Board may determine that it would be suitable for a settlement conference. As part of the initial pilot, settlement conferences for labour relations and staffing will be scheduled each month.
- 3. Once a case has been scheduled for a settlement conference, the parties will be required to attend a settlement conference on the scheduled date.
- 4. The parties will be requested to provide written briefs in advance of the settlement conference.
- 5. The Board Member will meet individually with each party in advance of the settlement conference date.
- 6. The parties are free to discuss the case openly at a settlement conference. Discussions at a settlement conference are strictly confidential and will remain so. This means that any information exchanged during the settlement conference:
- will not be disclosed to anyone (unless the parties consent to the disclosure).
- will be disclosed on a without prejudice basis, for the purposes of settlement negotiations only.
- cannot be admitted as evidence in any subsequent administrative or judicial proceeding brought by a party except when the same information can be obtained independently from other sources or when the information was provided by that party.
- 7. The role of the Board Member at a settlement conference is to listen to the parties’ positions, facilitate settlement discussion, discuss procedural issues, and to provide their opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of a case and the remedies that the Board can grant.
- 8. The Board member who presides over a settlement conference will not be assigned the hearing on the merits if the matter does not settle.
- 9. After the settlement conference, the parties may choose to settle the matter, pursue their case to adjudication, or to withdraw the case.
- 10. By mutual request, the parties can ask for a case to be scheduled for a settlement conference. Scheduling of settlement conferences will generally be in order of the requests received.
Early Resolution Officer – Pilot Project
Starting in October 2022, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (“the Board”) will introduce a new pilot project as a part of the Case Flow Initiative. Heading up the new project will be the Early Resolution Officer.
The Early Resolution Officer will work directly with the parties on new files submitted to the Board. The pilot’s goal is to promote earlier case resolution through candid and evaluative discussions.
The Early Resolution Officer’s main role will be to help the parties resolve their dispute without the need for a hearing.
If no settlement is reached, the Early Resolution Officer will help the parties to narrow the issues in dispute, deal with any preliminary issues and otherwise ensure that the matter will be ready to proceed to an early and efficient hearing. All discussions with the Early Resolution Officer are without prejudice.
The Early Resolution Officer may also recommend one of the Board’s dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation with the assistance of the Mediation and Dispute Resolution Services, a settlement conference, expedited adjudication, or mediation/arbitration.
If the matter cannot be resolved, it will be heard by the Board by way of written submission or by an oral hearing. Nothing that the parties have discussed with the Early Resolution Officer will be shared with the Board member who ultimately decides the matter.