A Wavering Commitment? Administrative Independence and Collaborative Governance in Ontario’s Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability Legislation
23 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2011 Last revised: 2 Dec 2018
Date Written: May 25, 2010
In December 2009, the Ontario Legislative Assembly enacted the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009 [ATAGAA]. This new legislation offers a unique approach to ensuring that adjudicative tribunals in the province are transparent, accountable and efficient in their operations while preserving their decision-making independence. This approach aims to bring the executive branch of government and tribunals together in achieving effective and accountable internal tribunal governance. Through the use of illustrative cases, the author argues, however, that the statute does not address many of the contemporary concerns about administrative independence and accountability that tribunals experience on the ground, such as the executive insufficiently resourcing tribunals through lack of budgetary or human resources. She argues further that the legislation is inconsistent in its underlying commitment to the concept of accountability itself as it fails to contemplate the importance of government accountability to tribunals and overlooks opportunities to foster sustained internal cultures of accountability. Finally, the approach taken by the legislation must be channeled properly to avoid disintegrating from one of collaborative governance to one of command and control.
Keywords: administrative law, administrative tribunals, independence, accountability, Canada
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