Montréal, June 3, 2020 – The Régie du logement believes it appropriate to supplement the information presented in the report tabled today by the Auditor General before the National Assembly.
In its report, the Auditor General comments on the progress of the action plan developed by the Régie further to the recommendations in the Auditor General’s report for spring 2016. Although the Auditor General acknowledges that six out of seven recommendations were implemented, it is unsatisfied with the progress made with regard to the use of available hearing time.
In past years, the Régie du logement has implemented several measures to ensure that hearing time is used efficiently. However, it must achieve the right balance to improve the performance of the tribunal and the use of its resources while ensuring that no prejudice is caused to the parties.
The Régie du logement already applies an overcalling scale to alleviate circumstances beyond its control that have an impact on the use of hearing time. Like any other tribunal, it is dependent on the parties’ decisions and their level of preparedness at the hearing.
However, overcalling has its limits. The postponement of cases due to lack of time, and all the expenses and inconvenience it causes the parties, their attorneys and their witnesses, is unavoidable when all the parties on the roll attend the hearing and use all of the time allocated to them. It is important to maximize the use of hearing time in order to reduce waiting time before a hearing. However, it is even more important to ensure that parties can be heard on the day they are called. That is why the Régie du logement has implemented other solutions aimed at improving its performance.
A policy for placement on the roll and the organization of hearings sets out the basic principles that apply when assigning and coordinating the work of commissioners, with a view to making resource management more efficient. The amendments made to the Act respecting the Régie du logement by the Act mainly to regulate building inspections and divided co-ownership, to replace the name and improve the rules of operation of the Régie du logement and to amend the Act respecting the Société d’habitation du Québec and various legislative provisions concerning municipal affairs , such as the holding of management conferences and the requirement to file and notify the exhibits or a list of the exhibits in support of the application, will have a positive impact on the use of hearing time and the accountability of the parties.
That Act introduced the possibility of designating a member of the personnel to assist the vice-chairman in coordinating and assigning the work of commissioners. This will enable physical presence in every office where a group of commissioners work, in order to more quickly determine which actions to take to balance the workload, reassign cases so that all of them can be heard and, if necessary, ensure that a commissioner whose roll is completed early can assist a colleague whose roll is overcrowded, even by videoconference. Since the Régie holds hearings throughout the province, that assistance will make the vice-chairman’s coordination work more efficient.
The Régie du logement is constantly monitoring the situation and continues to take the steps required to improve the use of hearing time and, more generally, the performance of the tribunal. However, it cannot control every single variable.