Response to the 2016-2017 Report of the CITT Advisory Committee

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

The purpose of the CITT Advisory Committee is to provide recommendations to enhance the accessibility, fairness and transparency of the Tribunal’s rules and procedures. 

The Tribunal thanks for the Advisory Committee for its work towards this end and for its feedback on the draft practice notices that have been circulated to it over the past year.  Attached is an appendix listing the current status of the Tribunal’s practice notices and outlining a new approach for sharing practice notices with the Advisory Committee in the future.

The Tribunal also thanks representatives of the business community for raising issues of concern to small, medium and large businesses alike.  These issues are of significant import to the Tribunal and should continue to inform future practice notices so that the Tribunal’s rules and procedures remain in step with the commercial realities in which Canadian producers and businesses operate.

The Tribunal welcomes the Advisory Committee’s input on various issues and provides the following in response to the issues raised in its 2016-2017 report.

Reducing Costs and Improving Access to Justice

Improving access to justice remains a key priority for the Tribunal.  As such, the Tribunal commends the Advisory Committee for continuing to focus much of its work on reducing costs and improving access, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses, across all three of the Tribunal’s mandates (i.e., procurement, customs and excise appeals, and trade remedies).  The Tribunal looks forward to working with the Advisory Committee over the coming year in this regard.

For its part, the Tribunal has made several modifications to its website to make it easier to navigate, especially for those who are not familiar with the CITT’s rules and procedures.  For example, the website features a new SIMA guideline for parties who are unfamiliar with the Tribunal’s work in trade remedies. It has also decided that Lexum will be used to publish the Tribunal’s decisions, and as such, decisions will be more widely available to the public. 

Furthermore, the Tribunal is developing a new “Notice of Appeal” to make it easier for parties to file a customs or excise appeal.  It has been based on the form used in Procurement complaints.  A draft will be shared with the Advisory Committee for comment in the coming weeks.  

Finally, the Tribunal notes that in the last year, a number of SIMA hearings exceeded one week for the first time in many years.  While this cannot be avoided in certain cases, the Tribunal does not want this to become a trend.  The Tribunal would therefore encourage counsel to: moderate their time demands for examination-in-chief, cross-examination and closing arguments; better coordinate with colleagues; respect the given time allotments; carefully weigh the benefits of using expert witnesses; and take note of the Tribunal’s practice notice on the efficient management of cases. 

CITT Jurisdiction in Contempt Proceedings

The Tribunal would draw the Committee’s attention to Section 17(2) of the CITT Act which gives it the inherent power regarding contempt proceedings.  Comments from the Advisory Committee on the manner in which the Tribunal could implement such power would be welcomed. 

Video Conferencing

The Tribunal has identified a means by which witnesses can appear before the Tribunal via video-conferencing during public portions of hearings.  It is developing a practice notice at the present time, which will be shared with the Advisory Committee as soon as possible. 

Electronic Document Filing and Service

ATSSC continues to work on this issue.  Case management solutions are an operational priority for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. 

Changes to Questionnaires and Feedback on Data Collection

The Tribunal recognizes that questionnaires in SIMA proceedings can be difficult for small- and medium-sized businesses.  It is pleased that the CITT Secretariat has been actively improving standard questionnaires, and working closely with parties to assist them in providing necessary information in SIMA inquiries.  Notably, staff in the CITT Secretariat remains available to provide as much assistance as possible to parties when completing questionnaire to ensure that questionnaire replies are as complete and accurate as possible and to avoid costly and burdensome revisions. 

Nevertheless, the Tribunal would note that in several instances, the complexity of questionnaires has arisen from the scope of the product definitions set by the CBSA.  It would, therefore, encourage parties and counsel to be mindful of the difficulties that increasingly complex product definitions can have on small- and medium-sized businesses when responding to questionnaires.

Furthermore, the Tribunal would note that the recent WTO ruling on carbon steel welded pipe will likely affect how de minimis exporters are reflected in future questionnaires.  The CITT Secretariat is considering the most efficient way to manage this issue and the Tribunal would welcome the Advisory Committee’s input in order to minimize the complexity of questionnaires in this regard.

Issues for the Coming Year

The Tribunal looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Advisory Committee over the coming year.

Looking ahead, the Tribunal is considering potential ways to simplify its approach to product exclusions in SIMA cases.  It is also considering whether and how pre-hearing settlement conferences could be used in appeals and procurement cases.   It will seek comments from the Advisory Committee on both issues in due course.

 

Appendix

Current Status of the Tribunal’s Practice Notices

Title

Date of Issuance

Status

Practice Notice - Citing Authorities

February 13, 2017

Final

Practice Notice - Filing Documents

February 13, 2017

Final

Practice Notice & Form - Proposed Expert Witnesses: Acknowledgement and Undertaking

April 4, 2017

Final

Practice Notice - Single-Copy Exhibits

February 13, 2017

Final

Practice Notice - Agreed Statement of Facts

March 3, 2016

Final

Form – Filing an Appeal

Publication imminent

Final

Practice Notice - Filing of Questionnaire Replies and Revisions and Issuance of Revised Investigation Report

June 10, 2016

Final

Practice Notice - Electronic Hearings

In preparation

Draft

Practice Notice - Settlement Conferences

In preparation

No draft yet – internal only

Practice Notice - Exclusions

In preparation

No draft yet – internal only

Publication - List of Measures in Force & Expiry Time Lines

February 16, 2017

Updated as Required by CITT Secretariat

Publication - Anti-dumping Injury Inquiries: A Descriptive Guide

January 26, 2017

Final

Publication - Expiry Review Guidelines

July 28, 2016

Final

Publication - Procurement Review Process: A Descriptive Guide

Spring 2017

Final

Various streamlining of the CITT’s website for enhanced user-friendliness

Winter 2017

Ongoing

 

Sharing Practice Notices in the Future

Beginning in September 2017, the Tribunal will begin sharing draft practice notices with the Advisory Committee for comment on a quarterly basis.  Once comments are received and accounted for, draft practice notices will then be posted on the Tribunal’s website for 30 days, after which they will be finalized.  This new approach is being undertaken to improve the efficiency of the process by which practice notices are drafted, shared for comment and finalized. 

In cases where practice notices are time sensitive and/or linked to a particular case, the Tribunal will share them with the Advisory Committee for comment on an expedited and exceptional basis.

 

Resource Type

Status

Publication Date

Friday, July 14, 2017

Modification Date

Friday, July 14, 2017