Notices to Counsel

Scheduling Around the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games

January 20, 2010

January 20, 2010

The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games promise to be an exciting time for the City of Vancouver and all of Canada. However, it is certain that the impact of the games on transportation, accommodation, and availability of participants will affect the Secretariat's ability to hold hearings in the majority of British Columbia throughout the duration of the events.

A few of the issues we anticipate include:

  • Flights will likely be fully booked, and what seats are available will be untenably expensive; this also affects flights to other areas with connections or stopovers in Vancouver or nearby airports.
  • Increased security concerns are causing smaller carriers servicing the north and isolated areas to cancel flights.
  • Ground travel will be hampered and some roadways closed altogether.
  • Accommodations and meeting spaces will be difficult if not impossible to obtain, and costly.
  • Adjudicators and parties living in or near the affected area may be unavailable to attend hearings due to involvement in the games or inability to travel out.

In order to mitigate the impact of this event on our work as much as possible, the Secretariat intends to hold the maximum number of hearings possible in the British Columbia region in January, prior to the start of the games, then turn its focus to concentrate on Alberta and the Northern Territories for the duration of the games.

The Scheduling and Logistics units have already implemented their plans for this. Hearings that are to be held in British Columbia are being scheduled at a higher volume for the month of January to allow them to occur before the Olympics period. Only expedited/emergency hearings are to be scheduled in British Columbia in January.

In February, hearings that are to be held in Alberta are scheduled at a higher-than-usual volume. Only expedited/emergency hearings will be held in B.C. in February, and no hearings that are not part of a 'block' set for a particular lawyer or city will be scheduled anywhere in Canada.

Following the Olympics, the Secretariat will continue to monitor the situation with respect to the scheduling of hearings and expects that normal scheduling practices will resume.

Parties are encouraged to notify the Secretariat about disruptions of which they become aware, and to do everything in their power to minimize disruptions to the process caused by late or incomplete document submissions, changes to logistics, or cancellations after hearings are set, wherever possible. The guide to "Best Practices for Efficiently Moving Cases through the Independent Assessment Process" on the website provides further information.

Please be assured that we will continue to do our very best to accommodate requests for expedited hearings due to significant risk and/or diminishing capacity in the affected area during the Games; however, please understand that our ability to respond may be restricted by factors beyond our control.

Thank you very much for your patience during this event. We look forward to your suggestions and to continuing a relationship of active collaboration for the best service of our clients.