Accelerated Hearings Process (AHP)
The final hearings in the Over 65 Pilot Project have been held. Results of the Pilot project and feedback from participants in the project have resulted in the development of an Accelerated Hearing Process (AHP).
Claimants who are medically deemed to be of "significant risk/diminished capacity" (p. 23, IAP Model) or “failing health” (p. 44, IAP Model) will continue to proceed on an expedited and priority basis. Regular hearings will continue for those cases that are hearing-ready.
In an effort to preserve testimony and meet efficiencies in scheduling, non-hearing ready files will be evaluated by IRSAS staff for consideration for scheduling as AHP hearings, along side of hearing ready files.
- The purpose of the AHP is to maximize the number of hearings held each week by scheduling non-hearing ready cases with hearing ready cases in order to fill a week in a given geographic area with hearings, and to preserve claimant testimony. Even in the absence of mandatory document production and /or Canada’s research, identified cases may proceed to hearings.
- Consideration will be given to the age of the claimant, claimant health and length of time since admission. Cases for consideration will include those which have been admitted in the last three years.
- Assessments of the case being considered for scheduling will take place by teleconference and will be led by the Adjudicator. Also attending the call will be Canada’s representative, Legal Counsel where the claimant is represented or an IAP Support Provider where the Claimant is self represented, and an IRSAS staff.
- IRSAS Schedulers will review non-hearing ready files by priority: age, health of claimant, length of time since admission and efficiencies in location, scheduling and utilization of resources to determine if they can be considered for scheduling with hearing ready files to form a block of hearings.
- Where claimants are represented, files for consideration will be presented to Claimant Counsel for review, to determine if the case should be considered for an accelerated hearing teleconference.
- Claimant counsel will advise scheduling if the case can be scheduled. At this time Claimant counsel may suggest alternate non-hearing ready files for scheduling. This is the only time that alternatives may be suggested.
- For self represented claimants the IAP Support providers review cases to determine which are suitable for an Accelerated Hearing and will provide a list of files to the Scheduler.
- After consulting with the Claimant, Claimant Counsel (or IAP Support Provider where the Claimant is self represented) will confirm that: (a) that the claimant is content to proceed with an accelerated hearing whether the adjudicator is male or female, and (b) that the file can be scheduled for hearing at the proposed time and place.
- Once Claimant Counsel (or IAP Support Provider where the Claimant is self represented) has confirmed which cases can be scheduled, Case Management will prepare a file activity history for inclusion in the teleconference evidentiary package and Scheduling will set hearing and teleconference dates. The file activity history will detail case specific information contributing to the delay in the case becoming hearing ready. Case Management will provide a timeline for evidentiary package distribution.
- File management teleconferences will be scheduled with the assigned Adjudicator, Canada’s representative (who, where practical, will also attend the hearing), claimant counsel, an IRSAS employee (or IAP Support Provider and self represented Claimant, to review non-hearing ready files (specifics about the file management teleconference below). A teleconference report will be completed to assist with file management.
- The postponement policy will be applied to cases selected for the AHP. This means that the Adjudicator must approve requests for postponements made within the 10 week postponement window, and when not approved, Legal Counsel will be responsible for the expense associated with the postponement.
- Although not an expedited file, as with our current expedited process, hearings will be scheduled, even in the absence of documents / research, for preservation of testimony. If the claim cannot be concluded by the time of the hearing, submissions will be postponed pending completion of documents and research, as determined by the adjudicator. If after all document production and research is complete, it becomes necessary to re-call the claimant to provide further testimony, the adjudicator will advise the Secretariat and the next steps will follow existing processes. (There may be cases, for example, those in which credibility or reliability is in issue, where the adjudicator deems it necessary to reconvene the hearing in person).
- Where document submission is not complete by the hearing date, the hearing will proceed and document submission will continue post hearing
- The names of contact people for the stages of the process will be provided in the final copy of the Accelerated Hearing Process document for distribution to affected units, as well as to Adjudicators and legal counsel.
D. Specifics of File Management Teleconferences
- Prior to the file management teleconferences, evidentiary packages and a file history will be prepared and forwarded to adjudicators, counsel (or IAP Support Provider and self represented Claimant) and Canada’s representative for review.
- Adjudicators will preside over the teleconferences to include Claimant Counsel (or IAP Support Provider and self represented Claimant), Canada’s Representative. The adjudicator will provide the formal record of the teleconference back to the Secretariat via the Scheduling unit.
- The following issues, among other issues that the adjudicators and parties wish to raise, will be addressed:
- Encourage self represented claimants to retain legal counsel
- Ascertain whether any additional allegations will be made or whether any existing allegations will be withdrawn (arrange for addenda to applications to be circulated where appropriate);
- Ascertain whether Canada’s research is complete;
- Ascertain whether there will be participation by Alleged Perpetrators;
- Ascertain whether the claimant’s mandatory document production necessary to support the levels of harms and opportunity loss claimed is in place
- Identify additional documents that may be mandatory or helpful and timetable for production of same
- Identify any mandatory documents in respect of which Canada may be in a position to consider waiving the production of;
- Ascertain whether any files may lend themselves to consideration of a possible waiver by Canada of assessments;
- Generally to identify any steps that can be taken to maximize the prospects of the claim being concluded at or shortly after the hearing;
- Identify health / travel concerns on the part of the claimant;
- Identify whether the claimant wishes the participation of an elder or interpreter.
E. Requests for Two hearings a Day
- Two hearings a day will be considered in cases where claimant counsel or IAP Support Providers make this request and confirms in writing that claimants are well-prepared, in good health, do not require interpreters and that their hearings can safely be concluded in a half day. This is subject to the adjudicator agreeing and taking into account the wishes of all participating parties. Two hearings per day would not occur back to back in a block, but would be scheduled such that there is a day in between with a full day hearing.
- Travel arrangements for hearings will need to be pre-authorized and sent to Hearings Management in their usual timely manner.
- The logistics request form should be sent to Hearings Management 8 weeks prior to the travel taking place.
- The legal counsel desk guide indicates the types of travelers and travel costs that are eligible for prepayment and/or reimbursement, and is based on the Travel Directive.
- In some circumstances (especially in cases of change requests or short lead times), the Secretariat may request that legal counsel make the travel arrangements for the Claimant (and any support persons/Elders identified by the Claimant) which, when pre-approved by Hearings Management, could then be submitted for reimbursement. Note: The Secretariat (and not Canada by way of disbursements) will pay pre-approved hearing-related travel expenses.
- The travel claim process for reimbursements will remain the same.
- All authorized travelers will be acknowledged and legal counsel will be sent travel expense claim forms and an overview of pre-approved costs for each traveler.
Enquiries regarding the Accelerated Hearing Process can be directed to the IAP Info Line: 1-877-635-2648