Development of An Access to Justice Index for Federal Administrative Bodies

2.0 Methodology

As noted in the Introduction, the development of the Index is an adaptation of the work completed by the U.S. National Center for Access to Justice, which developed an Access to Civil Justice Index for the 50 states. This section of the report elaborates on definitions used, as well as the development of the Index.

2.1 Definitions

Index

What is an index? While this term is used in many different contexts, we use it here as an indicator or a measurement of a stated or known goal. In this project, the Access to Justice Index for Federal Administrative Bodies is a measurement of Canadians’ ability to access justice at each of the participating administrative bodies.Footnote 37

Terms used in the Questionnaire

Members, staff, party or parties of the administrative body are considered separately in the questions.

  • Members refers to those who adjudicate on behalf of an administrative body and are Governor-in-Council appointments for fixed periods of time (e.g. 3 years, 5 years).
  • Staff refers to those who work for, or support, the administrative body and are public servants.
  • Party/ies refers to the individual(s), group, organization, business, etc. who has made a complaint AND the individual(s), group, organization, business, etc. against whom the complaint has been made. As each administrative body may use a different term to describe these, we have chosen to use this general term.

Active adjudication is defined by Sossin “as a mid-point between adversarial and inquisitorial models of a legal process, and one focused on the policy context rather than the judicial model of the neutral arbiter or inquest model of the judge-led inquiry. An active adjudicator will respect the right of parties to put forward their own positions on questions of law and fact but may supplement submissions by raising additional issues, seeking information or perspectives not provided by the parties, and redressing any asymmetries resulting from represented and unrepresented parties or parties of greater or lesser sophistication… ”Footnote 38

At a practical level, Ian Mackenzie describes active adjudication as “…the act of bending the process to fit the person or persons before the adjudicator, while respecting the impartiality of the adjudicator.”Footnote 39

Accessible language is similar to the concept of “plain language”.Footnote 40 The Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals (CCAT) offers training on decision writing that includes how to explain legal concepts in plain language.Footnote 41

Public legal education and information (PLEI) is defined as “an activity that seeks in a systematic way to provide people with the opportunity to obtain information about the law and the justice system in a form that is timely and appropriate to their needs.”Footnote 42

2.2 The US Access to Civil Justice Index

The US Access to Civil Justice Index created an index for each American state in each of the following four areas:

  • Approach used with self-represented litigants;
  • Availability of lawyers for the poor;
  • Accessibility for persons with disability; and,
  • Language access.Footnote 43

Each state received an overall score – a mark out of 100 – based on the findings for each of the four categories. The US Access to Civil Justice Index provides a vivid picture of which states are ensuring that their civil justice system is accessible and providing necessary resources to make the legal system fairer to everyone.Footnote 44

2.3 The Development of the Categories

Categories and specific questions for the Index were developed from different literature on administrative law and practice, measuring the cost and quality of access, as well as access to justice literature in general.Footnote 45 For example, in his writing on access to administrative justice, Law Professor Sossin identifies three categories which provided a useful starting point. These are:

  1. access to the tribunal (standing and hearings);
  2. access to information and knowledge(guidelines, simplification, language and prior decisions); and,
  3. access to resources needed to navigate the tribunal system (legal representation, fees and costs, budget and staffing). Footnote 46

Other resources, such as the Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals’ (CCAT) Principles of Administrative Justice StatementFootnote 47 and the Council of Australian Tribunals’ International Framework for Tribunal ExcellenceFootnote 48 also provided guidance.

In addition to these resources, research on the cost and quality of access to justice from the University of Tilburg, in the Netherlands, informed the development of the categories and the subsequent indicators within each category.Footnote 49 According to this body of research, a fundamental principle is that justice and access to justice should be assessed from the point of view of the individual experiencing the legal problem and not only from the perspective of the justice system. Researchers at the University of Tilburg transformed the viewpoint of the person experiencing a justice problem into a measurement tool along three major dimensions: 1) the cost, 2) the quality of the process, and 3) the quality of the outcome.

Since the administrative bodies would be completing the survey for this particular index, the questions had to be modified. Keeping the user’s point of view, the questions were subsequently translated in such a way that an administrative body would be able to answer it. For example, from the user’s perspective, it is important that s/he have physical access to the administrative body. This perspective was translated in the following way: Does the administrative body (or contracted services provider) have at least one office open to the public? The essence of the user’s point of view is retained, while allowing the administrative body to answer the question from its operational perspective.

2.4 Key Methodological Points in the Development of the Index Categories and Questionnaire

Several key assumptions or statements helped with the development of the Index Categories and the Questionnaire. The principal ones are below.

  • In selecting the Index categories and sub-categories, the working group agreed that they must be clear and easy to understand, mutually exclusive and able to be applied to each administrative body.
  • It is important to acknowledge that each participating administrative body has a specific mandate and a specific context in which it operates.
  • Administrative bodies are encouraged to answer questions prospectively, such that where the scenario presented in the question has never arisen, officials are encouraged to ask “Could the administrative body accommodate/deal with this?”
  • Each category results in a separate index, calculated based on responses to the Questionnaire, where data collected are “yes/no” responses to questions. Administrative bodies were able to provide comments and best practices throughout the Questionnaire and these are included in the results to provide context.
  • To ensure scores are well differentiated, weights of 10, 5, and 1, per question, have been used. This approach provides discrete values and avoids a complex scale. 
  • Based on consultations with the participating administrative bodies, a weight of 10, 5, or 1 is assigned based on:
    • the perceived importance of the question to the party (ies);
    • the relative importance of the question to the overall category; and
    • whether a question(s) speaks to obligations of the administrative body (e.g. from legislation such as the Official Languages Act or Treasury Board Secretariat policies). For these questions, the Questionnaire acknowledges both the obligatory requirement (a value of 1), and allocates points for any additional, or variations of, the administrative body’s initiatives in the area (e.g. official languages, duty to accommodate etc.) so that the weight could be a 5 or a 10.
  • Additional information may warrant further precision, or broader reconsideration of the weighting scheme at some point in the future.Footnote 50 For example, in response to the publication of the original US National Access to Civil Justice Index, the organization received hundreds of emails and calls, significant media attention and embarked on an update of the Index in March 2015. A revised Index was released in the spring of 2016.Footnote 51

2.5 Index Categories and Questions

After a review of the literature, four categories were chosen to reflect a more complete picture of access to administrative justice from the parties’ perspectives. The indicators and questions were developed based on what parties have expressed as important.Footnote 52 These questions were then translated into operational services. For example, from the parties’ perspective, it is important to have the possibility of physically going to the tribunal and speaking directly with an agent or officer.

Category 1: Access to the Administrative Body

This first category, Access to the Administrative Body, has two sub-categories: a) Physical Access and b) Access through Technology. In keeping with the increase in use of technology in all facets of daily life, University of Ottawa Law Professor Jane Bailey and colleagues challenge many of the assumptions in the use of technology to provide access to justice for all. These authors note that,

The dialogue regarding access to justice and technology can too easily fall prey to a sort of technological determinism that implicitly assumes that technological change is inevitable, unstoppable and certain to enhance access to justice.Footnote 53

Bearing this in mind, the second sub-category asks questions about access to the administrative body through technology.

1a: Physical Access

Questions in this sub-category focus on the ability of parties to access the offices of the administrative body in person. This is particularly important where there are oral processes. Question 2 asks, “Are oral processes (e.g. hearing, mediation) held in locations as close as possible to the parties?” A positive response to this question is worth 10 points, the highest value given because of the importance to the parties themselves. Another question worth 10 points is whether the rooms used for oral processes accommodate persons with a disability (Question 3). Where there are oral processes, it is assumed that parties want to be present, rather than joining by video conference, although it is important to have that as an option. The 14 questions for this sub-category can be found in Table 1a below.

Table 1a: Category 1: Access to the Administrative Body - Physical Access

No. Question Weight

1.

Does the administrative body (or contracted service provider) have at least one office open to the public?

1

2.

Are oral processes (e.g. hearings, mediation) held in locations as close as possible to the parties?

10

3.

When needed, can the rooms used for oral processes (e.g. hearings, mediations) accommodate anyone with a disability (e.g. elevator, ramps, wider doors, etc.)?

10

4.

Are there rooms available where lawyers and other representatives can meet privately with their clients?

5

5.

Does the administrative body have reception staff to assist visitors?

1

6.

Can a party speak with a representative of the administrative body outside of regular business hours (e.g. 8h00 – 17h00) across Canada?

5

7a.

Can parties watch live or simulated oral processes?

5

7b.

Are parties informed that they can watch a live or simulated oral process?

1

8.

Is the administrative body open to the public?

1

9.

Does the administrative body have a general policy or practice on accommodating special needs?

5

10.

Is the office of the administrative body, as well as the site of processes, readily accessible by public transit?

1

11.

Does the office of the administrative body provide access to childcare or child-friendly spaces for children of parties or witnesses?

1

12.

Are parties given choices when the administrative body is scheduling oral processes?

1

13.

Has a substantiated claim of failure to accommodate a party’s needs been filed against the administrative body in the past 12 months?Footnote 54

5

1b: Access through Technology

In this sub-category, a number of the questions are reflected in Communications policies as established by the Treasury Board Secretariat. For example, Question 17 asks, “Can the administrative body’s website be understood by users with various literacy skills?” The Policy on Communications and Federal Identity of the Government of Canada states:Footnote 55

5.1 Objectives
The objectives of this policy are to ensure the following:

5.1.1
Government of Canada communications are non-partisan, effectively managed, well coordinated, clear and responsive to the diverse information needs of the public…

5.1.3
The Government of Canada is visible and recognizable to the public in Canada and abroad, and is projected equally in both official languages…

It is argued that in order to be compliant with the above policy, websites must be designed with different literacy levels in mind. Similarly, Question 18 asks, “Does the administrative body’s website meet Treasury Board accessibility standards for persons with disabilities?” Among other elements, the standards address: screen readers, adjustable font sizes and contrast settings, reader-compliant files, audio, video captioning, sign language, windowing and descriptive videos.Footnote 56 Questions 17 and 18 are each worth 10 points, reflecting the importance of these elements for the party. One other question is worth ten points in this sub-category, Question 15a, which asks “Can party(ies) participate in oral processes via written submissions?”

During the development of this and the other categories, it has been important to remember that the oral processes of administrative bodies includes not only hearings, but all types of dispute-resolution processes, such as case conferences, mediation sessions and early dispute-resolution processes wherein that parties have the opportunity to tell or relate their stories.

The 16 questions asked in this sub-category are presented below in Table 1b.

Table 1b: Category 1: Access to the Administrative Body - Access through Technology
No. Question Weight

14a.

Can parties participate in oral processes via teleconference or videoconference?

5

14b.

Do parties participate in oral processes via teleconference or videoconference?

1

15a.

Can parties participate in oral processes via written submissions?

10

15b.

Do parties participate in oral processes via written submissions?

5

16a.

Can the administrative body respond to general questions from the public using different mechanisms, such as the Internet, email, live chat, telephone, TTY, and/or text messaging?

5

16b.

Can the administrative body respond to all specific questions about a case when using different mechanisms, such as the Internet, email, telephone, TTY and/or text messaging?

5

17.

Can the administrative body’s website be understood by users with various literacy levels?

10

18.

Does the administrative body’s website meet Treasury Board accessibility standards for persons with disabilities?

10

19.

Is the administrative body’s website accessible to persons with different learning styles, such as the inclusion of visual and audio presentations of information?

5

20a.

Does the administrative body make use of web-diagnostic tools, such as Google Analytics or other software?

5

20b.

Is the administrative body’s website designed to facilitate navigation?

5

21a.

Does the administrative body solicit feedback from website users? (e.g. a pop-up survey or a feedback tab on the site)

5

21b.

If the administrative body solicits feedback from website users, does it respond to issues raised?

5

22.

Is technical assistance with the website readily available? (e.g. via a free telephone call)

1

23a.

Does the administrative body use online forms?

5

23b.

Does the administrative body use “smart” forms?

5

Category 2: Processes

2a: Procedural Justice

Procedural Justice includes 20 indicators on access to both formal and informal processes, which will vary by organization. With many administrative bodies, a party will be able to choose a specific process. As such, a case conference, a mediation or another process represents a different pathway to justice.

All the questions are worth five points except for one which is worth 10 points: “Does the administrative body provide interpretation services in languages other than French or English?” This is extremely important where one or more of the parties may not have French or English as a first language or may require other means of communication due to a disability.  

Table 2a: Category 2: Processes – Procedural Justice
No. Question Weight

24a.

Do members receive training on, or are they assessed on prior experience with, active adjudication? 

5

24b.

Do staff receive training on, or are they assessed on experience with, active adjudication? 

5

25a.

Do members receive training on, or are they assessed on experience with, objectivity and bias? 

5

25b.

Do staff receive training on, or are they assessed on experience with, objectivity and bias? 

5

26.

Can parties choose among a variety of processes as their case goes through the system? 

5

27a.

Does the administrative body monitor its members for implicit prejudice? 

5

27b.

Does the administrative body monitor its staff for implicit prejudice? 

5

28a.

Does the administrative body offer informal dispute mechanisms for parties to lodge and resolve complaints about their services? 

5

28b.

Does the administrative body offer formal dispute mechanisms for parties to lodge and resolve complaints about their services? 

5

28c.

Can parties choose between the administrative body’s informal and formal dispute-resolution mechanisms? (If no to 28a or 28b, skip 28c = 0)

5

29.

Does the administrative body provide interpretation services in languages other than French or English?

10

30a.

In the last five years, has the administrative body evaluated how satisfied parties are with its processes?

5

30b.

Has the administrative body responded to issues identified in evaluations of user satisfaction?

5

31.

Does the administrative body have performance indicators relevant to access to justice?

5

32.

Does the administrative body have a system to collect and manage case data?

5

33a.

Does the administrative body have documented internal service standards? If no, skip 33b = 0 points

5

33b.

Is compliance with internal service standards monitored?

5

33c.

Does the administrative body have documented external service standards for process milestones? If no, skip 33d, 34

5

33d.

Is compliance with external service standards monitored?

5

34.

Does the administrative body meet its external service standards in 85% or more of cases? 

5

2b: Representation

The questions in this sub-category were largely informed by the Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals’ self-represented parties questionnaire circulated to its members in 2014-15.Footnote 57 Self-representation, which has become one of the most important issues in access to justice in the last decade, refers to the situation where a party does not have legal representation from a lawyer or paralegal or other legally trained professional. Administrative bodies, for the most part, are designed to be less formal than the court system and therefore may see many cases with self-represented parties.

Table 2b: Category 2: Processes – Representation
No. Question Weight

35.

Does the administrative body provide information to parties who represent themselves? (e.g. checklists and other public legal education and information materials, on process, FAQs, and other topics specific to a self-represented party) 

10

36.

Does the administrative body monitor trends in self-representation? 

1

37a.

Do members receive training on how to work with, or are they assessed on experience with regard to, self-represented parties? 

5

37b.

Do staff receive training on how to work with, or are they assessed on experience with regard to, self-represented parties? 

5

37c.

Does the administrative body monitor members’ engagement with self-represented parties and submissions? 

5

37d.

Does the administrative body monitor staff engagement with self-represented parties and submissions? (e.g. calls with clients could be randomly monitored) 

5

38.

Does the administrative body support parties who lack the capacity to self-represent? (e.g. designated staff provide additional information by telephone or in person, provide additional assistance with documents and processes; referrals to outside service providers) 

5

39.

Can a party have a support person of their choice present throughout the process? (e.g. a family member, friend, community worker, etc.) 

5

2c: Interpersonal

Some of the elements in this third sub-category include whether members and staff receiving training on treating clients with respect (Questions 40a and 40b) and whether the administrative body has a Code of Values and Ethics (Question 41). There are two additional questions (42a and 42b) that ask whether members and staff receive training on the duty to accommodate. This category consists of five questions, which are presented below in Table 2c.

Table 2c: Category 2: Processes – Interpersonal Aspects
No. Question Weight

40a.

Do members receive training on, or are they assessed on experience with regard to, treating parties, staff and other members with respect? 

5

40b.

Do staff receive training, or are they assessed on experience with regard to, treating parties, members, and, other staff with respect? 

5

41.

Does the administrative body have a “Code of Conduct/Values/Ethics”? 

1

42a.

Do members receive training or are they assessed on experience with regard to the duty to accommodate?  

10

42b.

Do staff receive training or are they assessed on experience with regard to the duty to accommodate? 

10

2d: Informational Aspects

In this final sub-category, the theme is information (developing, disseminating, etc.) which is an extremely important category. The definition for Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI) in this pilot project is drawn from the Access to Justice Service Agreements between the three territories and the Department of Justice:

“an activity that seeks in a systematic way to provide people with the opportunity to obtain information about the law and the justice system in a form that is timely and appropriate to their needs.”Footnote 58

Questions focus on the quality and the accessibility of the information provided to the public. Questions also ask whether the administrative body does regular outreach activities (Question 45) and whether its information is available in other settings (Questions 46a and 46b). Thus, access to justice includes an expectation that the administrative body is to facilitate such access by being proactive and reaching out to the public, not just providing information when asked or approached.

Table 2d: Category 2: Processes – Informational Aspects
No. Question Weight

43.

Does the administrative body provide opportunities for parties to correct inaccurate information during the process (i.e. before a decision is rendered)? 

5

44.

Is written and oral information about the administrative body kept up-to-date? (e.g. when there are changes in the law, in the processes, information provided to parties and to the public is updated) 

5

45.

Does the administrative body conduct regular outreach activities? (e.g. on an on-going basis activities such as newsletters, stakeholder meetings, speaking events, etc.) 

5

46a.

Is there information about the administrative body on the website of relevant stakeholders and information and services agencies? 

1

46b.

Is there information about the administrative body in the waiting rooms of relevant stakeholders and services agencies? 

1

47.

Is there a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on the administrative body’s website? 

5

48.

Is there a glossary of terms on the administrative body’s website? 

5

49.

Is accessible/plain language used in written resources? 

10

50a.

Is accessible/plain language used in oral communication with parties? 

10

50b.

Does the administrative body monitor communication materials for accessible language? 

1

51.

Has the administrative body had any substantiated claims with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for the refusal to provide services in English or French filed against it in the past 12 months?Footnote 59

5

52.

Are written resources available in languages other than French and English (e.g. Braille, Spanish and Chinese)? 

1

53.

Does the administrative body provide information using visual aids?   

1

54a.

When interacting with parties, do staff refer additional resources? 

5

54b.

Does the website provide referrals to additional resources? 

5

54c.

Does the administrative body provide paper copies of additional resources? 

5

54d.

Are referral lists kept current? 

5

55.

Does the administrative body protect personal information? 

5

Category 3: Costs

Costs makes up the third main category for the Index. It considers the costs to parties who access administrative processes. Almost all of these costs are services charges, but a few include intangible costs such as mental health supports for members, staff and parties. There are many other types of costs,Footnote 60 but it was determined that these would be difficult to measure in a self-assessment tool.

3a: Service Charges

For service charges, questions relate to the actual exchange of money in return for services, such as receiving hard copies of PLEI publications, or administrative fees to cover the cost of filing documents in a case.

Having to pay for access to services represents a clear and concrete barrier to parties with low incomes.  Three questions in this sub-category receive the highest weight of 10: Question 59a, 60a and 61. The first question in this sub-category, Question 56 reminds the reader that it is important to remember that proceedings include any dispute-resolution process, such as mediation sessions. Many newcomers are initially unable to provide testimony in English or French. Interpretation may also be required as an accommodation when a party has a disability that impedes clear communication in one of Canada’s official languages.

There are 11 questions in this sub-category.

Table 3a: Category 3: Costs – Service Charges
No. Question Weight

56.

Does the administrative body pay for interpretation of languages other than French and English during hearings, mediation and other proceedings? 

5

57.

Does the administrative body pay for the translation of key documents (e.g. letters to parties, decisions) into languages other than French and English? 

5

58.

Does the administrative body pay for additional copies? 

5

59a.

Can parties file documents at no charge?   (skip 59b if yes, if skip 0 points)

10

59b.

If there are fees for filing documents, is there a sliding scale or waiver of fees for parties who meet low-income criteria? 

5

60a.

Can parties use the administrative body’s rooms for oral processes (e.g. hearings, mediation) at no charge?   (skip 60b if yes, if skip 0 points)

10

60b.

If there are fees for the use of rooms, is there a sliding scale or waiver of fees for parties who meet low-income criteria? 

5

61.

Can users access public legal education and information (PLEI) materials (in print or online) free of charge? 

10

62.

Does the administrative body partner with a public-interest pro bono PLEI group? 

5

63.

Does the administrative body maintain toll-free telephone and fax lines?  

5

64.

Does the administrative body allocate a portion of its budget to the information needs of parties, such as surveys, testing of materials, website revisions, etc.) 

5

3b: Intangible Costs

Intangible costs include those costs such as pain and suffering or other emotional and psychological impacts of the process of filing or responding to a complaint with an administrative body. What is being measured here is whether the administrative body recognizes these potentially negative intangible costs and is acting to address them for staff, members and parties.

Table 3b: Category 3: Costs – Intangible Costs
No. Question Weight

65.

Does the administrative body provide staff with assistance and support for mental well-being? (e.g. access to an Employee Assistance Program, an internal wellness program) 

1

66.

Does the administrative body have an assistance program for mental well-being for members? 

1

67.

Does the administrative body provide assistance or support related to mental health to parties, and/or does it provide referrals to relevant people/organizations? 

5

Category 4: Outcomes

Fittingly, the final main category for the Index is Outcome. The outcome of an administrative process plays an important role in parties’ overall sense of fairness and justice.

4a: Distributive Justice

This section includes questions that are just part of the analysis that members will undertake while making a decision on the merits, and on the remedy, in a particular case. Distributive Justice highlights that many conflicts have one or more issues related to the division of assets, damages and tasks, and to application of sanctions. Distribution as a dimension of the quality of outcomes refers to the appropriateness of outcomes with regard to questions about allocation.Footnote 61

Question 70 asks whether the administrative body considers the roles of parties in disputes (e.g. employer/employee). An example of this latter question would be where a significant power imbalance exists in a conflict, such as between a large employer and a single employee. Most administrative bodies would agree that this information is part of the facts of each case and always considered.

Question 71 asks whether the administrative body considers the efforts of the parties. This element may be found in the enabling statute. An example of this element is where one party is awarded costs because the other party abused the process. Other questions include: “Can the administrative body award or facilitate a remedy for monetary harm?” and “Does the administrative body award or facilitate a remedy for monetary harm?” (Questions 72a and 72b). These are followed by the same questions for emotional harm (Questions 73a and 73b). The distinction between the two questions is that the first asks if the administrative body is able to do this (does their enabling statute permit this) and then, whether they actually do it.

Table 4a: Category 4: Outcomes – Distributive Justice
No. Question Weight

68.

As appropriate, does the administrative body help to distribute of money and assets (e.g. benefits)?  

1

69.

Does the administrative body consider the needs of the parties? (e.g. the unique socioeconomic circumstances of the parties) 

1

70.

Does the administrative body consider the roles of parties in disputes (e.g. employer/employee)? 

1

71.

Does the administrative body consider the efforts of the parties? 

1

72a.

Can the administrative body award or facilitate a remedy for monetary harm? 

5

72b.

Does the administrative body award or facilitate a remedy for monetary harm? (e.g. an award that includes lost salary and benefits) 

5

73a.

Can the administrative body award or facilitate a remedy for emotional harm? (e.g. stress, anxiety or other negative emotional impact) 

5

73b.

Does the administrative body award or facilitate a remedy for emotional harm? 

5

4b: Functionality

As noted earlier, another aspect of this category refers to the extent to which outcomes are useful from the perspective of the parties. When a conflict arises, few people immediately think of the rights they may or may not have. Most people instead seek to resolve the conflict and that spurs them toward seeking justice.Footnote 62 The indicators in this sub-category explore the usefulness of the outcome in light of these problems.

Table 4b: Category 4: Outcomes – Functionality
No. Question Weight

74.

Does the administrative body seek to improve the relationship damaged during the dispute? 

5

75.

Does the administrative body solicit feedback on the extent to which the parties have reconciled their differences? (e.g. a survey or follow up to solicit feedback on the reconciliation process) 

5

76a.

Can the administrative body enforce outcomes? 

5

76b.

Does the administrative body enforce outcomes? 

5

77.

Does the administrative body monitor outcomes to prevent future conflict? 

5

4c: Transparency of Outcomes

It is important that, whatever the outcome of a complaint, it, and the justification for it, is transparent.  If so, the outcome and its justification can be examined and better understood by the parties and by the public. In addition, transparency is necessary in order to evaluate the extent to which the outcome is similar to other people’s outcomes in similar cases.Footnote 63

Table 4c: Category 4: Outcomes – Transparency of Outcomes
No. Question Weight

78.

Is the decision clearly communicated to the parties? (e.g. in plain/accessible language in a letter or email) 

5

79.

Are the reasons for the decision clearly communicated to the parties? 

5

80.

Is the decision or settlement publicly accessible in full or redacted format? 

5

81.

Once issued, are decisions by the administrative body monitored internally for consistency in application? 

5

The development of the questions to operationalize each category took significant time and several rounds of consultation with participating administrative bodies, academics, the US National Center for Access to Justice, the CCAT and researchers at the Department of Justice Canada. Each administrative body approached the review of categories and questions differently. For example, the CHRC undertook a collaborative process where five working groups were created and officials from every relevant area of the CHRC were represented on one or more of the five working groups.Footnote 64 The final set of answers was provided to management for review and to senior management for approval before submitting the response to the Department of Justice.

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