Inquiry and intake services
The Inquiry and Intake Service Unit is the first point of contact for members of the public who need information on filing a human rights complaint. Callers receive basic information on the Commission, how to file a complaint and other information about the human rights process.
During this fiscal year 2000 - 2001, Inquiry and Intake Services received a total of 163,765 telephone calls. Staff responded to 52,848 calls or 81% of the 65,207 callers who opted to speak to an Inquiry Service Representative. On average, calls were responded to within 3.4 minutes. Staff sent out 4,133 intake questionnaires and 2,351 completed intake packages were returned. In this fiscal year, 1,775 formal complaints were filed.
Mediation and Investigation services
Of the 1,941 complaints closed this year, 1,219 complaints were mediated, settled, resolved by parties or withdrawn and the Commission made decisions on 722 of these complaints.
The growing use of mediation, by people on each side of a complaint, is the principal reason the Commission has significantly reduced its caseload. Specially-trained mediators offer parties the option of voluntary mediation early in the process. The mediation process is generally concluded within three to six months of filing a complaint. This year, 51% of the Commission cases were resolved as a result of mediation services, as well as more traditional settlement techniques such as conciliation.
The Commission also met its public performance measures for mediation set out in the Ministry’s 2000-2001 business plan. Last year, it committed to achieve a 65% settlement rate at the mediation stage. This year, it surpassed that goal with a rate of 73.2%.
The success of the voluntary mediation program has reduced the number of complaints that proceed to the investigation stage. Over the past several years, the inventory of cases being investigated has been steadily dropping from 1,780 at March 31, 1998 to 631 as at March 31, 2001. This has also enabled the Commission to focus its investigative resources on older cases, particularly those that have been active files for more than 12 months.
Last year, the Commission committed to resolve 80% of cases that were more than a year old by April 1, 2001. At the end of this fiscal year, on March 31, 2001, the Commission had resolved 572 of the 620 cases. This represents 92% of the target. By reducing the number of older cases in investigation, the average age of the caseload has been reduced to 10.4 months.
During the 2000-2001 fiscal year, the Commission made significant strides in a number of areas including caseload management, timeliness in handling complaints and public education.
Once again this year, the Commission has resolved more cases than it opened. In 2000-2001, it opened 1,775 and resolved 1,941 cases. As at March 31, 2001, the Commission’s active caseload was 1,781. A comparison with earlier figures of 2,745 on March 31, 1998, 2,386 on March 31, 1999 and 1,952 on March 31, 2000, demonstrates the consistent progress the Commission continues to make in this area.
The Commission also referred 73 complaints to the Board of Inquiry (Human Rights).
Age and Processing Time