As of January 1, 2016, Quebec has merged its labour relations board with its workers’ compensation appeals tribunal into one omnibus, judicial tribunal – the “Administrative Labour Tribunal” (ALT).
The legislation that effects this merger is An Act to Establish the Administrative Labour Tribunal, CQLR c T-15.1 (the Act).
No doubt there will be those who might argue the substantive merits of this merger, but that is not the topic I want to address in this site.
From an administrative justice system perspective, this merger legislation is of particular, generic interest because of its progressive, unique-to-Quebec treatment of the following critical administrative justice system issues concerning a judicial tribunal’s chair and members:
- Their qualifications and the process by which they are recruited and selected.
- Their terms of appointment and the process governing their reappointments.
- The process for terminating appointments mid-term.
- Their compensation and the means for setting it.
- The role of the Tribunal Chair in the administration and management of the Tribunal.
And, for the most part, on those issues, from an administrative justice and rule of law perspective, this legislation provides a model to be emulated – a model that is far more rule-of-law respectful than any that can be found in the rest of the country.
I propose to write a series of posts examining the Act’s provisions with respect to the foregoing issues. I will begin with the provisions respecting the recruitment and selection of the new tribunal’s Members and deal first with what the new legislation requires in the way of qualifications.
Administrative Labour Tribunal Members’ Qualifications
This is eye-popping:
Section 52 of the Act provides that no one can be appointed as an ALT Member unless he or she has “knowledge of the applicable legislation” and at least “ten years of experience relevant to the Tribunal’s functions”. (Emphasis added.)
For what this requirement says about the importance to be attributed to the role of a judicial tribunal, is there a mandatory qualification anywhere in the rest of Canada to match it?