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Service Standard Policy

Introduction

The Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal) is a quasi-judicial adjudicative tribunal committed to providing a fair and impartial hearing and decision process for those who are aggrieved by a direction, policy, order, decision or require the resolution of a dispute pursuant to legislation that falls under the mandate of the Tribunal.  The Board of Negotiation negotiates the settlement of claims pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act.  This Service Standard Policy applies to both the Tribunal and the Board of Negotiation, and references to the Tribunal include the Board of Negotiation, where applicable.

The Tribunal operates within the context of a professional and accountable public service, and is committed to providing a high standard of service to the public.

From time to time, the Tribunal may receive complaints about the quality of service related to its practices, or the conduct of Tribunal members or staff.  The purpose of this policy is to outline the Tribunal’s service standards for telephone calls and correspondence (mail, e-mail, fax) made to the Tribunal, and create a transparent and fair method of responding to public complaints.

Service Standards

Correspondence – Written correspondence (mail, e-mail or fax) will be acknowledged within 5 business days.

Telephone – Telephone calls will be returned within one business day.  Voicemail messages will provide an option for reaching an alternate staff person to assist.

In-person service – Core hours for staff assisted service is 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Scope of the Policy

It is important to note that:

  • Dissatisfaction with the outcome of a Tribunal decision is not a complaint. The complaints procedure is not a form of reconsideration, appeal or judicial review.  If the Tribunal receives a complaint for which it appears that the appropriate action is to apply for a reconsideration, to appeal or to apply for judicial review, Tribunal staff will advise the complainant to seek independent legal advice.
  • Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted as affecting a process or remedy available from the office of the Ontario Ombudsman under the Ombudsman Act.
  • Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted as affecting the right to request a review of a Tribunal decision, a right of appeal from a Tribunal decision under any Act where applicable, or the right to bring an application for judicial review of a Tribunal decision.

Tribunal Complaints Procedure 

Making a Complaint

  • All complaints about Tribunal members or staff must be submitted in writing. Complainants must be willing to disclose their name, address, telephone number and connection to the matter on which their complaint is based.  The written complaint should clearly describe the complainant’s concern and provide details of the alleged conduct at issue.  If a complaint involves the conduct of a Tribunal member or staff, the complaint should identify the individual(s) involved.
  • In circumstances where accommodation of a complainant necessitates receipt of a verbal complaint, the Chair or his or her designate will record the particulars of the complaint in writing.
  • In all cases, receipt of the complaint will be acknowledged.
  • Complaints that are not received in writing will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, in a manner that the Chair or the Chair’s designate deems appropriate.
  • In all cases, the person who is the subject of the complaint will be advised, as well as the Chair of the Tribunal where appropriate, in order to fully and fairly review the complaint.
  • Contact information for where to direct complaints is located at the end of this policy.

Timelines

  • Where possible, complaints will be addressed immediately. If the issue cannot be resolved right away, the Tribunal or the Minister, where appropriate, will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within five business days.
  • The complainant will be advised by the Tribunal or the Minister, where appropriate, of the status of the complaint within 15 business days of receipt of the complaint.
  • If any further action is necessary, the Tribunal or the Minister, where appropriate, will advise how long it will take to receive a further response.

Complaints about the Tribunal Chair

  • Complaints about the Chair of the Tribunal can be made directly to the Chair. If the issue can not be resolved, the complainant can write to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  The review of the complaint to the Minister may be conducted by the Minister or his or her delegate.

Complaints about a Tribunal member

  • Complaints about a Tribunal member or Vice-Chair should be made in writing to the Chair of the Tribunal. Alternatively, the complainant can raise the complaint directly with the chair of the hearing panel or member if they feel it is appropriate to do so.
  • If a complaint is made in writing to the Tribunal Chair and the complaint relates to a hearing or review that is still in process, the Chair may defer any response until, in the Chair’s opinion, the timing is appropriate.

Complaints about a Tribunal staff member

  • Complaints about a Tribunal staff member can be made directly to the staff member. If the issue can not be resolved, the complainant can write to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The review of the complaint to the Minister may be conducted by the Minister or his or her delegate.

General Complaints about Tribunal Policies and Procedures

  • Complaints about Tribunal policies and procedures in general can be raised either with Tribunal staff or with the Chair of the Tribunal or submitted in writing to the Chair of the Tribunal.

Contact Information

Chair, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal

1 Stone Road West, 2nd Floor

Guelph, Ontario

N1G 4Y2

Tribunal e-mail:  appeals.tribunal.omafra@ontario.ca

Website: www.afraat.ca 

Telephone number: (519) 826-3433

Fax: (519) 826-4232

 

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

77 Grenville Street

Toronto, Ontario

M7A 1B3

Fax - 416-326-3083

E-mail: minister.omafra@ontario.ca


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-888-466-2372 ext. 519-826-3433
Local: 519-826-3433
E-mail: AFRAAT@ontario.ca