Dispute Resolution Guidelines
Tarion strives for the highest ethical and professional standards in dispute resolution proceedings, such as facilitation, mediation, arbitration, Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), or court proceedings. Our goals include the following:
- Achieve a fair and reasonable outcome. We aim not to win or defend our decision; rather, we are interested in obtaining all relevant information from the parties to determine if our decision is correct, needs to be changed, or if further investigation is necessary.
- Avoid conflicts of interest, whether actual or perceived. There is potential for an actual or perceived conflict of interest in LAT appeals brought by homeowners/purchasers where Tarion and the builder are responding parties. The builder is a separate party from Tarion in any dispute resolution proceeding and represents their own interests in the proceeding.
- Provide reasonable and fair assistance to self-represented persons. We seek to improve access to justice for self-represented persons by helping to make dispute resolution proceedings more accessible, understandable and accommodating.
The guidelines set out below apply to all Tarion representatives appearing at dispute resolution proceedings, including our employees as well as third party representatives (e.g., external counsel, contractors, experts).
Treating Others with Respect
We will act courteously, civilly and in good faith. We will treat others with respect and will expect the same in return. We understand that the proceedings may sometimes lead to heated emotions, but disrespectful or unreasonable behaviour (e.g., swearing, name-calling, shouting, etc.) by any party is not appropriate.
Achieving a Fair and Reasonable Outcome
We will make every reasonable effort to:
- Listen to other parties by receiving, reviewing and fully considering their evidence and submissions.
- Analyze claims and issues without assumptions by applying the evidence and applicable law and policies.
- Seek out expert advice where needed or appropriate.
- Work towards an early resolution of disputes.
- Approach alternative dispute resolution from the perspective of looking for acceptable compromises and mutually acceptable outcomes wherever possible.
- Reach a fair and reasonable outcome based on the circumstances and applicable law and policy.
Enhancing Access to Justice for Self-Represented Persons
In all dealings with others, and in particular self-represented persons, we will:
- Take care to see that others, and in particular SRPs, do not have the impression that a Tarion lawyer or paralegal is acting for them.
- As long as there is no prejudice to any party, agree to reasonable requests regarding adjournments, hearing dates, and waiver of procedural formalities.
- Communicate clearly. Avoid complex legalese and use plain language.
- When opportunities arise, direct other parties to resources available on Tarion’s website and LAT’s website to help them better prepare themselves for dispute resolution proceedings.
- Make every effort to help self-represented persons with any issues relating to a disability, language or cultural barriers.
- Not take advantage of a self-represented person. For example: (i) Our lawyers must abide by professional responsibilities to put forward all known relevant case law even if it is not helpful to their own case; (ii) We will not be overly technical in relying on procedural or technical rules. If the self-represented person makes a minor or easily rectified procedural error, we will give them the opportunity to correct the error.
- Not object to someone accompanying the self-represented person (provided they act in accordance with all applicable rules). For example, a self-represented person may be allowed by LAT or the court to bring a support person to the proceeding.
- Recognize that self-represented persons can be intimidated by the proceedings and feel as though everyone else is against them, including the other parties and possibly the chairperson/judge. We will avoid doing anything that may contribute to this feeling.
If you feel that a Tarion representative did not abide by these guidelines, contact Tarion’s Human Resources Department at 416-229-3803. Please also note that, while the complaint will be investigated, the results of the investigation will not be made public.