Options to resolve your accessible transportation complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency

Options to resolve
your complaint The Agency offers three options
to resolve your complaint, ranging from
the informal methods of facilitation and mediation, to the formal
adjudication process. Now I will provide
a brief explanation of each of the three options
for resolving your complaint. Option 1: Facilitation Facilitation involves
an Agency employee offering their expertise
by having discussions with you and the service provider,
separately, to help define
the issues involved, which may clear the way
for a solution. This is the most informal,
and fastest, of the three methods
of resolving complaints. Once both parties
agree to facilitation, the Agency facilitator will begin discussions
with each party, either by telephone or by email. The facilitator
assigned to your file will provide you
with information on the relevant legislation, regulations,
and applicable guidelines, and may also refer
to previous Agency decisions which dealt with similar issues. With your consent, your application will be shared
with the service provider to ensure that it is fully aware
of the issues that you would like addressed. Almost any reasonable request
can be put forward to the service provider
in facilitation, however, should the case move
to the formal process, the Agency
does not have the power to award compensation
for pain, suffering, or loss of enjoyment. Addressing a complaint
via facilitation may allow for an outcome that would not be possible
through formal adjudication. The Agency strives to resolve
matters through facilitation within 30 calendar days. If your complaint is
not successful in facilitation, or only partially successful, you may choose to request
mediation or formal adjudication. Option 2: Mediation Mediation is also
an informal process where an Agency
mediator is assigned to assist both you
and the service provider in addressing all issues
through negotiation. Similar to a facilitator,
a mediator must ensure that impartiality is maintained
through the discussions, and must not provide
strategic coaching to individual parties. A mediator will assist parties with prioritizing
and addressing issues raised in an application, and in reaching a settlement. However, mediators
have no decision-making powers. Mediation is different
from facilitation in that it involves direct
interaction between the parties, either through
a face-to-face meeting or by teleconference. This process gives you
and the service provider an opportunity to express
your views on the issue at hand, examine your concerns,
explore some options, and develop your own solutions in a timely
and cost-effective manner. Mediation is
an informal alternative to the Agency’s formal
decision-making process. However, it is still
a structured process with requirements
that both parties must follow. For instance,
it must be completed within a 30-day
statutory deadline after the dispute
is referred for mediation, unless the parties to the dispute
agree otherwise. To have your dispute
settled through mediation, you must submit a complaint
to the Agency using our complaint wizard, available on
the Agency’s website at www.otc-cta.gc.ca under the Complaints
and Disputes tab, or by submitting an email to [email protected] Cases referred to mediation
are transferred outside of the Accessible
Transportation Directorate and are handled by the Alternative Dispute
Resolution Directorate. Once your application
is received, one, or in some cases two,
Agency employees who are qualified mediators and experienced
in the transportation industry and accessible transportation
matters will be appointed
to your case. The Agency will then contact
the service provider to determine
whether it is willing to have the dispute
resolved through mediation. The mediation process
is confidential and parties must
agree in writing to maintain confidentiality, even if the mediation
does not result in the resolution of all issues. For example, the mediator
will not discuss any elements brought forth during the course
of the mediation session with Agency personnel, except for purposes related to
Agency mediator training. If no settlement, or only partial settlement
is reached, any remaining issues
may be addressed by the Agency through the formal
adjudication process. Option 3: Formal adjudication The formal adjudication process
is a lot more structured. In this process, a panel
of Agency Members are appointed
to consider your application. Both you
and the service provider are given an opportunity to present your cases
to the Panel. The Agency’s Dispute
Adjudication Rules set out the process that is followed
during the adjudication. They also provide information
on how to make a variety of procedural requests
to the Agency on matters that commonly arise
in dispute proceedings, including requests to keep
information confidential. An annotation
provides explanation and clarification of the Rules,
which will be useful to those unfamiliar with
the Agency and its processes. It is organized
by section number and to make accessing
the information easier, it also contains hyperlinks that allow easy navigation
to related sections and further explanatory text
that you will find useful. Once the Panel
has received both the service
provider’s answer to your application
and your reply, it will determine
if any additional information is required prior
to making a decision. The Agency Members
use the following three steps to resolve complaints
through a formal process. Step 1: Establish that you are
a person with a disability for the purposes of
the Canada Transportation Act. Step 2: Establish that you have
experienced an obstacle. You have to prove
that you were denied equal access
to services available because you were not
provided with accommodation needed to address your
disability-related needs. Step 3: Determine if
the obstacle is “undue,” in other words, unjustified, and if corrective measures
are needed to eliminate it. If the Agency finds
that an undue obstacle exists, it has the power to order
the service provider to take corrective measures
to address it. For example,
the Agency may require the transportation
service providers to: amend their tariffs,
policies and procedures, develop or amend
training programs, train personnel, purchase equipment, provide services, and communicate information. The Agency may also
direct that any expenses resulting from the undue
obstacle be reimbursed. However, the Agency
does not have the power to award compensation for pain, suffering, or loss of enjoyment. To make a decision, the Panel members will look
at all of the evidence, such as evidence from
a qualified health professional or an opinion
from an informed expert and consider the legislation,
and any applicable regulations and legal principles. For less complex cases, the Agency strives
to issue its decision within 85 business days after the filing
of a complete complaint. For more complex cases, additional time will be required and in such instances,
the Agency’s objective is to issue its decision
within 65 business days after all of the requested
information is filed and the exchange
of pleadings has ended. Once a decision is rendered, it’s considered final and binding,
similar to that of a court. However, should you disagree
with a decision, you can apply to
the Federal Court of Appeal within 30 days of the date
the decision was issued and appeal the decision on a question of law
or jurisdiction, or you can petition
the Governor in Council to vary or rescind
a decision made by the Agency. Any documents
filed with the Agency as part of its formal
adjudication process will be made part
of the public record, unless a claim
for confidentiality has been made to,
and accepted by, the Agency. Therefore, before submitting
your documents to the Agency, you should remove
any information that you do not want included
on the public record. Decisions are posted
on the Agency’s website include the names
of parties involved, as well as the witnesses. This is a very high level
overview of the steps required. More information can be found
on the Agency’s website, www.otc-cta.gc.ca or you may contact the Agency with any questions you
might have by e-mail at [email protected] or by TTY, at

Stephen Childs

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