Frequently Asked Questions About the Appeal Process
Now that you have filed your appeal with our office, you may be wondering what comes next. This Q & A will take you through our appeal process.
We review all appeals to determine the best way to proceed. We may contact you to:
- get more information or documentation,
- explain the appeal process, or
- redirect you to another institution if necessary.
If it is clear that your appeal is not within our jurisdiction, it may be dismissed. Please note that some cases do not warrant the full appeal process and may be dismissed.
You will receive a written confirmation, which outlines the next step in processing your appeal. Where an appeal is not dismissed during screening at the Intake stage, the IPC will either dispose of the issues in the appeal at the Intake stage, or stream it to the Mediation stage or the Adjudication stage.
Mediation consists of a range of strategies and techniques all targeted at assisting the parties to reach a settlement. Some of those strategies include telephone conference and face-to-face meetings. In some cases full settlement is not possible, but issues or records can be narrowed, thereby simplifying the adjudicative process.
Mediation can succeed in:
- settling some or all of the issues
- reducing the number of records in dispute
- clarifying the issues
- helping the parties to better understand the legislation
Successful mediation requires the commitment of all parties. The role of the mediator is to help build this commitment and to facilitate discussion towards a resolution of the issues in dispute.
The main advantages of mediation are:
- Provides an opportunity for the parties to explain their respective positions
- Offers parties the opportunity to retain control by working together to arrive at a resolution
- Parties benefit from the mediator’s assistance in communicating, clarifying issues, pinpointing areas where agreement can be reached, and negotiating those agreements.
- Frequently leads to resolution faster than more formal methods of dispute resolution
- Generally less costly to the parties
- Can enhance future interaction between the parties by building trust, understanding, and communication
- Display a willingness to participate in telephone conference or face-to-face mediation meetings
- Take advantage of the opportunity to hear the issues and interests directly from the other party
- Work together as partners in finding solutions
- See this as an opportunity to resolve disputes informally and in a timely fashion
- Be creative and open to ideas and suggestions as well as innovative possibilities for settlement
- Listen with a view to understand
In the majority of cases, mediation is successful. In situations where mediation is not completely successful, you will receive a mediator’s report, which summarizes what has happened on your file and identifies the issues that have not been resolved. After you have had a chance to review the mediator’s report, the file is forwarded to the adjudication stage.
The adjudicator proceeds to conduct an inquiry by preparing Notices of Inquiry, which set out the issues the adjudicator believes need to be addressed in order to resolve the appeal. They send them to the parties, generally one at a time. The parties include you, the institution and any others involved in the appeal.
Normally, inquiries are conducted in writing, and in most cases all parties are given an opportunity to submit written representations on the issues raised in the Notices of Inquiry. This is your opportunity to let the adjudicator know your position on the issue(s) in the appeal. The more specific you make your representations, the more helpful they are to the adjudicator. Representations must be received by the date stipulated in the Notice.
Each party’s representations will generally be shared with the other parties to the appeal, unless there is an overriding confidentiality concern. When submitting your representations, you must indicate which portions of your representations you wish to be withheld, if any, and explain the reasons for your request. The adjudicator will then decide whether to share your representations with the other parties.
The adjudicator may decide not to seek representations from a party, if the adjudicator decides the appeal should be resolved in favour of that party.
Once the adjudicator has considered all representations and reviewed the records, they will then decide how each issue should be resolved and prepare a written order. Some of the things the adjudicator may order are:
• the release of some or all of the records,
• the modification or waiver of a fee, or
• the correction of your personal information.
All orders include reasons for the adjudicator’s decision, and are sent by mail to you and the other parties to the appeal.
The length of time the appeal takes depends on a number of factors, including:
- the nature and amount of requested information
- the issues in the appeal
- the particular process selected for your appeal
- the willingness of the parties to work towards resolving the appeal