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Strategic Direction of The BCC

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STRATEGIC DIRECTION OF THE BCC

The Commission endeavours to provide a timely, cost effective and non-adversarial process for resolving Building Code disputes through a streamlined and accessible appeals system. In doing so, the Commission has earned a reputation of being an effective, useful and quality service provider within the construction industry. There are, however, certain challenges that face the Commission. In order to address these challenges and to improve its on-going operations and client service delivery, the Commission plans to undertake the following initiatives.

Time to Hearings

In previous years, the Commission had noted a trend of it not meeting its stated target with respect to the length of time to holding a hearing. The Commission had been tracking the average number of working days from receipt of an application to a hearing as well as the average number of working days from receipt of the confirmation of dispute to a hearing.

At its past three general meetings, the Commission reviewed the wording of its performance measure related to timeliness of hearings. The Commission decided that the performance measure should track what the Commission is responsible for, which is providing hearing dates, and filter out matters beyond the control of the Commission, such as delayed return of documents or parties being unavailable for hearing dates.

The Commission decided that the performance measure should read “Offer a date for a hearing to be held within 40 working days from receipt of a complete application for 85% of all hearings” and “Offer a date for a hearing to be held within 20 working days from receipt of the Respondent’s confirmation of dispute for 85% of all hearings”. The Commission’s process includes input from the parties; therefore the Commission’s ability to hold a hearing within a certain number of working days is based on the responses from the parties being received by the Commission within a specific time frame.

The Commission notes that the targets for both of these performance measures were met for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The Commission offered a hearing date within 40 working days from receipt of a complete application in 85% of its cases and within 20 working days from receipt of the Respondent’s confirmation of dispute in 88% of its cases.

As a result of staffing issues, the Commission had resorted to holding a maximum of two hearings in a day. The Commission has now been able to return to its previous practice of holding up to three hearings in a day which should assist in continuing to achieve a positive result for this performance measure. The Commission and staff will continue to analyse these performance measures and factors that may impact results.

Time to Written Decisions

The Commission usually communicates its decision to the parties to the hearing within two to three working days from the completion of the hearing. The length of time it takes for the parties to receive a full written decision from the Commission is several months.

The Commission had identified this as a medium risk in its 2013-2016 Business Plan and instituted a new performance measure associated with the production of final decisions. In its 2014-2017 and 2015-2018 Business Plans, the Commission increased its rating of this risk to high probability with medium impact.

After discussing the matter at its general meetings, the Commission began implementing new processes during its deliberation of decisions in an effort to improve on the timelines associated with this measure. In addition, the Commission set a target for this performance measure which reads as follows “Prepare and finalize full written decision within six months of completion of hearing for 75% of all hearings” The results from the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 fiscal years indicate that the target was not achieved.

The Commission, through the Chair, worked with the Ministry in order to try and determine whether additional resources were appropriate.

In September 2015, the resourcing requirements of the Commission were addressed. As a result, the Commission’s performance in meeting its target for preparation and finalization of full written decisions improved significantly. The Commission’s target of preparing and finalizing full written decisions within six months of completion of hearing for 75% of all hearings was met during 2015-2016 fiscal year. Consequently, in its 2016-2019 Business Plan, the Commission reduced the risk to low probability and medium impact.

Transparency and Accountability

The Commission continues to comply with the accountability requirements set out in the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009. The legislation requires the Commission to review its accountability documents on a regular basis, and places some additional requirements on the process for recruitment of new members. As a result of the rules contained within the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009, the Commission was required to develop a recruitment statement which details the process to be undertaken when seeking recruitment of new members. In accordance with its recruitment statement, the Commission developed a job advertisement which was posted on the Public Appointments Secretariat website.

Succession Planning

The Commission has a total of 16 part-time members, including the Chair and one Vice-Chair. All Commission members are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council through an Order in Council. Management Board of Cabinet’s Agencies and Appointments Directive permits individuals appointed to the Commission to serve a combined term of appointment of up to 10 years.

Succession planning continues to be an appointments-related issue. Ideally, not more than 10% of the membership should retire from the Commission in any given year.

The Commission Chair and staff had developed a plan to address this issue. In summary, the plan is to work with the Minister’s Office and the Public Appointments Secretariat to seek appointments of new members more often and in smaller groups, so that their terms of appointment do not all expire at once.

This strategy would allow the Commission to improve succession planning; achieve appointment overlaps, allowing for knowledge transfer from existing members to newly appointed members; achieve an appropriate balance of geographical representation; promote mentoring of new members; and achieve and maintain membership having expertise in all technical disciplines (structural, fire safety, plumbing, mechanical systems, on-site sewage systems, etc.).

The Commission notes that the opportunity for existing members to mentor the new members was lost with this recent round of appointments.

The Commission is concerned that, with 13 members being appointed during November 2016, the Commission is once again in a situation where the 10 year maximum tenure of the majority of its membership occurs at the same time.

This trend, in which large groups of terms of appointment expire at the same time, will continue to be an issue.

In order to mitigate this issue from continuing to occur, the Commission strongly urges that this be taken into account for any future appointments and that the Commission Chair considers this issue when making recommendations on reappointment of existing members.

The Commission is very concerned that if new members are not appointed to the Commission in early 2016, the opportunity to mentor the new members will have been lost. Without the influx of newly appointed members, the Commission will lose nine of its ten members by the end of 2016 and will not be able to fulfil its mandate. It is therefore imperative that new members be appointed to the Commission as soon as possible.

Annual Survey of Parties

The Commission intends to continue its independent survey which assists the Commission in determining satisfaction with levels of service delivery.