The new online mediation and tribunal project of the Condominium Authority of Ontario is not only an efficient, low-cost answer to dispute resolution in the condo world — it could also become a model for the resolution of disputes in other areas of law in the future, says Toronto litigator and mediator Howard Winkler.
“If this works it could be revolutionary: it could free up scarce judicial resources and provide for a far less expensive dispute-resolution process,” says Winkler, principal and founder of Winkler Dispute Resolution.
The Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT), set up three months ago, uses a three-part process to resolve disputes — negotiation, mediation, and a binding ruling as a last resort. The key innovation is that all negotiation and mediation are carried out online, which precludes the need for personal appearances and keeps costs very low — up to $200 if the matter goes all the way to a ruling.
For now, the only issues CAT is eligible to hear are disputes related to condo corporation records, but Winkler tells AdvocateDaily.com that he expects the range of eligible issues to broaden rapidly.
“It’s the province’s first foray into a primarily online tribunal,” he says. “the initial limited jurisdiction provides a good starting point to get their feet wet.” …
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