Tribunals Ontario, made up of 14 adjudicative tribunals including the Landlord and Tenant Board, and which has been hosting eviction hearings online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has recently applauded the Government of Ontario’s Justice Accelerated strategy. This is a plan which aims to improve access to the provincial justice system. The strategy allows for the Landlord and Tenant Board and other tribunals to continue holding virtual hearings after the pandemic has subsided.
The new strategy ensures that the Ontario justice system will be able to deliver services in new and innovative ways which aim to speed up access and break down long standing barriers. This news is a major boost for Ontario landlords, who feel that the virtual process is an easier and far more efficient way to evict bad tenants and address any other issues.
New plan to speed up justice system access in Ontario
The challenges brought on by the pandemic worsened the already strained justice system in Ontario, making it clear that something had to give or else Ontarians would be faced with even longer wait times. Justice Accelerated, the new strategy announced by the Ontario government, looks to create a path to a more accessible justice system which can reduce delays, eliminate backlogs, and better serve all Ontarians.
The plan calls for investments in new technology to allow for improved case management and dispute resolution systems in order to quickly resolve matters and reduce backlogs, modernize justice services, address and transform justice accessibility for Ontario’s Indigenous communities, and drive innovation within the sector to continue transforming the justice system. Each year, thousands of people around the province rely on the Ontario tribunal system. Unfortunately, they’re often met with long wait times caused by massive backlogs which make it difficult to deliver services in an effective manner.
What the move to virtual hearings means for Ontario landlords
The Landlord and Tenant Board was quickly named by Tribunals Ontario as one of the first tribunals to make the transition to the new Justice Accelerated case management system, which will begin in summer 2021. While the system doesn’t include online tribunal hearings, it includes things like case management, document management, mediation facilitation and dispute resolution features, and a self-help tool for the public. These features can be used by parties to work together and resolve conflicts with or without the help of a mediator, allowing the LTB’s significant case backlog to move quicker than ever before.
With the LTB moving to the Justice Accelerated system, landlords and tenants will no longer be bogged down by traveling and commuting to in-person hearings, instead being able to resolve issues quickly on the case management solution via video and phone calls with critical features including online fee payment and electronic document filing.
It also means that disputes with bad tenants can be resolved in a timely and efficient manner, rather than being dragged out for months and resulting in headaches for landlords and properties left in limbo. The digital-first services may go a long way in disincentivizing problem tenants and making it more difficult to game the system, offering landlords a quicker way to evict them and for both parties to move on. The change is a positive for tenants, who will be able to enjoy expedited disputes in cases involving things like illegal rent increases.
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