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Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. David Arnot Chief Commissioner. “Rethinking Service for Better Quality Justice” May 22, 2014. Presentation outline. Presentation Goals: How and why the SHRC changed our service model; The outcomes of those changes; and

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Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

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  1. Saskatchewan Human RightsCommission

    David Arnot Chief Commissioner “Rethinking Service for Better Quality Justice” May 22, 2014
  2. Presentation outline Presentation Goals: How and why the SHRC changed our service model; The outcomes of those changes; and A perspective on why these kinds of changes matter.
  3. SHRC Mandate Mission: “To promote and protect the individual dignity, fundamental freedoms and equal rights of Saskatchewan citizens.”
  4. The Tribunal system Concerns with: Effectiveness, Timeliness, and Outcomes.
  5. Renewing the mission Appointed in 2009 Reappointed in January 2015. Specific mandate to: Revitalize, refresh, rework and refocus existing programs and services. Build a stronger public education program.
  6. Process improvements Modernize complaint resolution Retain existing best practices Add critical tools Accelerate appropriate case resolution
  7. Changes to the Code Amendments to the Code proclaimed July 1, 2011 Implemented “Four Pillar Strategic Business Plan” Moved the adjudication of human rights complaints from the Tribunal to the Court of Queen’s Bench
  8. The old tribunal model Elimination of the Tribunal system was a response to the need for: greater effectiveness, more timeliness, and the perceived need for balanced outcomes. Another way to characterize this is that we were looking for better quality justice.
  9. The old tribunal model The Tribunal system was an attempt to improve on another system. The predecessor to the Tribunal was the Board of Inquiry. Both systems relied on part time lawyers who did not have the benefit of judicial independence.
  10. The old tribunal model The Tribunal system: Added, on average, an additional 21 months to the complaint resolution timeline. Required, on average, an additional 15 months to release a decision. This 36-month timeframe is longer than the Board of Inquiry system.
  11. Need for a new model The Tribunal system could also be appealed to the Court of Queen’s Bench and to the Court of Appeal. “Better quality justice” needs to remove barriers to justice.
  12. the new model The SHRC’s new direct-to-Queen’s Bench model can set a hearing in 90 days. Judgments rendered within six months Based on significant consultation with stakeholder groups
  13. Appropriate case resolution Collaborative problem-solving processes Significant increase in the use of mediation Complainants appreciate more timely, less costly, resolution Litigation remains an option
  14. four pillars First Pillar Maintain effective complaints processing system Investigate when asked, prosecute when necessary
  15. four pillars SCC decision re: Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) vs. Whatcott Affirms value of hate speech legislation and the Code An exceptional activity for the SHRC
  16. four pillars Second Pillar Increase mediation Resolution culture Results focus Community building
  17. four pillars Front-end case resolution: Resolve complaints during intake, mediation, or investigation Skilled mediators 123% increase in complaints settled by mediation
  18. four pillars Third Pillar Violations not isolated Discrimination can affect many people “Systemic advocacy” for cohorts of people
  19. four pillars Focus on accessible transportation in Regina Stakeholder involvement Interest from other municipalities
  20. four pillars Fourth Pillar Citizenship education Partnership with Ministries of Education and Justice the Law Foundation is a major sponsor
  21. four pillars Address systemic gaps in citizenship information Strategic preventative education program known as the "Three R's": RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITY, and RESPECT
  22. four pillars Pedagogy for Pre-K to Grade 12 Provides an opportunity for dialogue Explore nature of Canadian citizenship
  23. Internal four pillars Professionalism Integrity Teamwork Energy The focus of our frontline staff, mediators, and investigators is to create timely and front-end resolution.
  24. Statistics In the 2013-14 Fiscal Year: opened 369 files and closed 395 files In the 2010-11 Fiscal Year: opened 185 files and closed 198 files A 100% increase in the number of files opened and closed. Closed 1.5 files per business day
  25. Statistics – mediation In the 2013-14 Fiscal Year: Mediated and settled 135 files One mediated resolution every other business day.
  26. Statistics In the 2013-14 Fiscal Year: Resolved 228 files within the year 62% of all the complaints that were opened Thirty-seven cases sent to the Court since November 2012 27 resolved prior to trial
  27. Statistics In the 2013-14 Fiscal Year: 84% of complaints originated in the workplace (10% increase from 2012-13) On average, one call a day from employers
  28. Proactive measures Aim is to proactively reduce complaints by providing appropriate case resolution and education. Many complaints based on non-understanding vs. malicious intent.
  29. Proactive measures Explain to the public about how and why resolution is achieved. Work with the media to: Increase reporting accuracy Promote public knowledge of human rights. Improve transparency.
  30. Proactive measures Example: The “Wedding Dress” Case Service refusal Infringed Section 12 of the Code This complaint represented 2 of the top 10 stories for CBC Saskatoon.
  31. Wrapping up A “tipping point” reduction in complaints can occur when citizens understand their rights It is our responsibility to promote justice and human rights
  32. Saskatchewan Human RightsCommission
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