Advisory Committee

Introduction to CART’s Advisory Committee

In early January of 2023, the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal (CART) created an External Stakeholders’ Advisory Committee (Committee).

On this page, we are posting the Committee’s:

The Committee’s Terms of Reference

PDF iconTerms of Reference PDF (129KB)

Objective

The Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal (the Tribunal)’s Advisory Committee (Committee) assists the Tribunal in ensuring that its procedures and practices are as fair, accessible, and efficient as possible.

Mandate

The Committee is a forum where:

  • The Tribunal may share and obtain feedback on its organizational priorities;
  • The Tribunal may consult members on proposed changes to its operations or policies, as appropriate;
  • Members may provide comment and advice on current and emerging issues relating to the Tribunal’s operations as they affect the people who use the Tribunal’s services; and
  • Members may provide comment and advice on the Tribunal’s approach to engagement and communications about its work, including its forms, informational material, and the publication of its decisions.

The Committee does not discuss the merits of individual cases.

So that the Committee functions in an atmosphere that encourages candor, members of the Committee maintain reasonable discretion and confidentiality with respect to Committee discussions.

The Tribunal may report back to the Committee on the topics discussed at Committee meetings (for example, on changes to Tribunal practices resulting from feedback provided from the Committee).

Composition

The Committee’s membership includes at least four representatives from organizations that represent the Tribunal’s most common applicants (for example, abattoirs, live animal transportation companies, farmers, animal product importers, and unrepresented litigants).

The Tribunal’s two most common respondents, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency, each have one representative participate as observers.

The Tribunal’s Chairperson, one of the Tribunal’s regular adjudicators, one of the Tribunal’s lawyers, and the Tribunal’s Registrar are members of the Committee.

Structure and Terms

Members of the Advisory Committee are invited by the Tribunal to participate based on their expertise or history with the issues that come before the Tribunal.

All Committee Members are asked to serve on a voluntary basis for two-year renewable terms.

One Committee Member is elected by the Committee Members to serve as Chair of the Committee for a two-year renewable term. The Committee’s Chair may appoint vice-chairs as required.

The Committee may strike and structure subcommittees to address specific issues as required.

Committee Members are responsible for their own expenses for activities related to their participation in the Committee.

The Committee will meet at least once per year.

The Tribunal’s Chair and the Committee’s Chair coordinate to set the agenda and schedule of the Advisory Committee.

The Tribunal’s Registry performs secretariat functions in support of the Committee.

(Finalized March of 2023)

Current Membership of the Committee

The members of the Advisory Committee for the 2023-2025 period are:

  • Pierre Lampron, Chair of the Advisory Committee, President of the Dairy Farmers of Canada and Second Vice-President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture
  • Skyler Veazey, Director, Regulatory and Technical Affairs at Canadian Poultry & Egg Processors
  • Jorge Correa, Vice-President of Market Access and Technical Affairs of the Canadian Meat Council
  • Moya McAlister, Communications Manager of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project
  • Russell Reitsema, Vice-Chair of BC Young Farmers
  • Sherri-Lynn Foran, Director of Enforcement Appeals and Litigation Division at CBSA
  • Melanie Nobre, Manager of National Enforcement and Investigations Office at CFIA
  • Emily Crocco, Chairperson at CART
  • Geneviève Parent, Adjudicator at CART
  • Mijin Kim, Executive Director at CART
  • Maria El-Hachem, Senior Counsel at CART
  • Frédéric Lapointe, Registrar at CART

Ryan Wilkes, the Deputy Director of Portfolio Coordination in the Deputy Minister’s Office at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, is an observer on the Advisory Committee.

Committee Meeting Minutes

The Committee’s Minutes from its meetings will be posted here.


January 23, 2024

Meeting Held on January 23, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. ET via Zoom

PDF iconMinutes PDF (195KB)

Members in Attendance:

  • Emily Crocco, Chairperson of CART
  • Pierre Lampron, Chair of the Advisory Committee
  • Jorge Correa
  • Maria El-Hachem
  • Sherri-Lynn Foran
  • Robin Horel
  • Frédéric Lapointe
  • Claudia Larocque
  • Moya McAlister
  • Melanie Nobre
  • Geneviève Parent
  • Russell Reitsema
  • Skyler Veazey

Observer

  • Ryan Wilkes

1. Welcome

Mr. Lampron thanked and welcomed participants to the meeting.

Mr. Lampron welcomed Skyler Veazey to the AC.

Ms. Veazey is the new technical and regulatory Director of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council (CPEP); she will be replacing Robin Horel moving forward. Mr. Lampron thanked Mr. Horel for his contributions to the AC.

2. Review and approval of draft minutes from September 19, 2023, meeting

The AC unanimously approved the draft minutes from the September 19, 2023, meeting.

3. Chairperson’s update:

Ms. Crocco thanked the AC for the comments that were provided during the last meeting.

Website Updates

Since then, CART has added some new content to its website:

E-Filing Portal

Ms. Crocco stated that the e-filing portal for CART is at its final stages. There are a few technical things left to figure out, but the portal should be up and running by the end of this fiscal year. This e-filing portal will enable applicants to file their requests for review electronically, along with the parties being able to submit documents via the portal.

Ms. Nobre mentioned that the e-filing portal is an excellent initiative, and she is looking forward to seeing the finished product.

Ms. Nobre asked how the respondent parties (i.e. CBSA and CFIA) will be notified of the new requests using the e-filing portal. Mr. Lapointe, CART’s Registrar, replied that it will be the same process as it is right now, but instead of receiving the request via e-mail it will be done through the portal.

Ms. Foran asked what CART’s experience has been with the creation of the e-filing portal and if there are any forecasted solutions to possible technical difficulties. Mr. Lapointe said that there are built-in solutions provided by ATSSC. The system is being tested and everything seems to run smoothly.

Mr. Horel inquired if there would be a communication plan to advise stakeholders of this change when it comes into force. Ms. Crocco stated that one will be developed before the launch of the portal.

Access to Justice (A2J) Project

Ms. Crocco said that CART has been speaking with Moya McAlister from the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP), and with Paul Aterman, a plain-language specialist, about making CART’s procedures and documents more accessible.

The challenge will be that the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada (ATSSC) has informed CART that it has very limited funds to contribute to the A2J project. That said, Ms. Crocco remained optimistic that CART will find ways to move the A2J project forward.

4. Feedback on Draft Accommodations, Mental Health Supports, and Getting Help Documents

Mr. Lampron noted that the documents are simple and straight-forward. There were no comments from the AC on the draft documents.

5. Round table

Ms. Parent thanked the team and mentioned that the documents are very accessible and comprehensible.

Ms. McAlister said that everything looks good and mentioned that she is happy to see there are many new processes being created. She also hopes that NSLRP will be able to assist CART in some way with the A2J project.

Mr. Horel thanked the committee members for the meeting and said that his replacement, Skyler Veazey, has an extensive experience in regulatory and technical issues.

Ms. Veazey said that the documents that were sent to the AC were clear, succinct, and straightforward.

Ms. Foran congratulated the team on the progress made to date and reported being eager to see the launch of the e-filing portal. She thanked everyone for the continued collaboration of the AC.

Mr. Wilkes mentioned that it is great to be a part of the committee to stay updated on CART’s operations and to see that CART is making its processes simpler and more streamlined for Canadians.

Mr. Reitsema, from a young farmer’s point of view, stated that he appreciates the commitment to the mental health supports, as well as keeping things as digital and accessible as possible.

Mr. Lampron thanked everyone for their participation.

6. Next Meeting Date

The next meeting date will be April 23rd, 2024, at 11:00 am EST.

Moving forward the calendar invitations will have the Microsoft Teams link embedded in the original invitation, along with it also being included in the agenda.

September 19, 2023

Meeting Held on September 19, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. ET via Zoom

PDF iconMinutes PDF (195KB)

Members in Attendance:

  • Emily Crocco, Chairperson of CART
  • Pierre Lampron, Chair of the Advisory Committee
  • Jorge Correa
  • Maria Hachem
  • Robin Horel
  • Frédéric Lapointe
  • Claudia Larocque
  • Marie-Hélène Lavoie (for Sherri-Lynn Foran)
  • Moya McAlister
  • Melanie Nobre
  • Geneviève Parent
  • Russell Reitsema

Observer

  • Ryan Wilkes

1. Welcome

Mr. Lampron thanked and welcomed participants to the Advisory Committee (AC) meeting.

Mr. Lampron welcomed Ryan Wilkes, the Deputy Director of Portfolio Coordination in the Deputy Minister’s Office at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who will be an observer on the AC.

Ms. Crocco welcomed the newest AC member, Robin Horel, who is an advisor for the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council.

2. Federal Identity Program

Ms. Crocco explained that the Federal Identity Program (FIP) is a Government of Canada (GOC) policy of requiring its departments to have a “common look and feel” in their communications (i.e., on government websites). It may be a requirement for some Federal tribunals to adhere to the FIP, and this has caused some debate about whether this would undermine the appearance that these tribunals are arms’ length from the GOC. Ms. Crocco sought the AC’s thoughts on this potential development.

Mr. Horel said that the big value of CART is that it is seen to be independent, therefore his preference would be that CART not adopt the GOC’s common look and feel requirement.

Ms. Parent said that as an adjudicator, she can understand that the stakeholders might have concerns seeing “Government of Canada” posted on CART’s website.

Ms. McAlister said that when dealing with self-represented persons, there is a lack of trust when it comes to a government that is involved in their legal matters. They might feel uncomfortable going to a website and having those images at the forefront. Ms. McAlister suggested that CART could add an explanation to its website explaining the requirement to follow GOC communications guidelines, while also underlining its independence from the GOC in its decision-making.

Mr. Lampron said that while there may be concerns about the program, CART is an organization that is part of the GOC.

3. Next Steps on Access to Justice (A2J) Index Report

Mr. Lampron suggested that it might be a good idea to strike a sub-committee to address the accessibility issues raised in the Access to Justice (A2J) Index Report. Ms. Crocco said she thought that was a good idea.

Ms. Crocco asked the committee members which suggestions from the A2J Index Report (as summarized in the Annual Report and in the backgrounder document provided before this meeting) they think are most important.

Mr. Correa stated that accelerating the processing times for parties through an e-filing system is a great idea. The Canadian Meat Council has undergone that process, and while it had its challenges, the results were mainly positive.

Ms. McAlister reported that the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) had a study done last year about accommodations processes throughout the legal systems for persons with disabilities. From this experience, she recommended having people with disabilities as part of the review process. Ms. McAlister added that people with cognitive disabilities have a harder time informing judges and lawyers of their disability.

Ms. Parent agreed with Ms. McAlister and added that it would also be a good idea to have an audit open to the Canadian public (including persons with disabilities) in order to receive advice and feedback on the accessibility of the information on the CART website.

Ms. Nobre added that CART has already started to make strides on the organization of the information on their website, the topics are well organized and easier to search (for example, its references to Federal Court of Appeal caselaw). Continuing to move toward simplifying its information would be great.

To Ms. Nobre’s comment, Ms. Crocco acknowledged the great work done on the website from Ms. Hachem and her legal team.

Mr. Reitsema mentioned that when you are dealing with farmers, they want the process to be as simple as possible. Farmers often give up at the sight of too much paperwork, therefore streamlining the process would be an excellent way to keep moving forward. Mr. Reitsema suggested that adding quick how-to videos and plain language can help make farmers more comfortable.

Ms. Crocco said that she will talk to her team about the next steps and will come back to the committee. She said that if there is anyone on the committee that is interested in the subject, to please reach out to her.

4. Requirement that Electronically Submitted Applications Also Be Sent by Registered Mail or Courier

Ms. Crocco explained that the CART regulations require that electronically submitted applications also be sent by registered mail or courier. She said that this can create stress for applicants, and that this requirement can create barriers for applicants due to the additional expenses.

Ms. McAlister agreed with Ms. Crocco’s concerns, and noted that in 2023, there are many other ways to obtain signatures (i.e., e-signatures). Removing the requirement for couriered copies will remove unnecessary frustrations for applicants.

Ms. Lavoie said that from a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) perspective, they will have similar changes coming soon. It would be helpful if applicants could submit an electronic request only and not have to follow up by registered mail. She recommended leaving an option of sending an application by registered mail or courier, so that people have choices.

The committee members were unanimous that the two-step process should be eliminated from electronically submitted requests for review.

Ms. Crocco thanked the committee members and said that this recommendation will be shared with the AAFC.

5. Next Meeting Dates

Ms. Crocco reminded the committee members that the next meeting dates are January 23rd and April 23rd, 2024. Members will continue to meet every few months.

Ms. Crocco said that going forward, the meetings will be held by Microsoft Teams. This will help the CBSA (and possible CFIA) members in participating since they have some security barriers to accessing meetings on Zoom.

Ms. Crocco extended her thanks and encouraged the committee members to reach out to her or Mr. Lampron should they have any ideas or suggestions.

Ms. Nobre suggested to have a round table at the end of each meeting to share ideas. As there was time left in the meeting, Mr. Lampron invited participants to participate in a roundtable.

6. Roundtable

Mr. Horel stated that he will most likely only be part of the committee for the next three months as he is currently helping out the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council while they look for a new CEO.

Mr. Reitsema said that he is excited to be working with everyone on the committee and that it already seems very informative.

Ms. Nobre mentioned that in the interest of the CFIA when speaking to moving everything electronically following the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the aspects that has been found to be more difficult is the ability to cross-train and attend hearings, as was done pre-pandemic.

In response to this, Ms. Crocco said that all CART hearings are open to the public and that anyone is welcome to call in and observe the hearings. There might be a way for this to be signaled on the CART website, so that the public knows that CART’s hearings remain publicly accessible.

Mr. Correa stated that he is in favour of trying to reduce how much time the respondents have to issue notices of violation. He suggested that there should be ways to problem-solve and be more efficient in this manner.

Ms. Lavoie stated that the CBSA posts its current estimated processing time (relating to Enforcement and Trusted Traveler Appeals) on its website. She suggested that this kind of information might be useful to be added to CART’s website.

Ms. Parent added that these kinds of timelines could be considered internally to give CART a sense of where the delays arise.

Ms. McAlister mentioned that the NSRLP received funding for a study about self-litigants and their experience with virtual hearings. There has been a large amount of data collected for this; stay tuned for the results of the study which will most likely be published by the end of February. If anyone has feedback on the topic, do not hesitate to reach out to Ms. McAlister.

Mr. Lampron concluded the meeting and thanked everyone for their participation.

April 17, 2023

April 17, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. ET via Zoom

PDF iconMinutes PDF (228KB)

Attendance:

  • Emily Crocco, Chairperson of CART
  • Pierre Lampron, Chair of the Advisory Committee and Second-Vice-Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture
  • Claudia Larocque, Business Administration Officer, CART
  • Erica Charlton, Technical Director, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processing Council
  • Frédéric Lapointe, Registrar, CART
  • Geneviève Parent, Member of CART
  • Jorge Correa, Vice-President of Market Access and Technical Affairs, Canadian Meat Council
  • Maria El-Hachem, Senior Counsel, CART
  • Melanie Nobre, Manager of National Enforcement and Investigations Office at CFIA
  • Sherri-Lynn Foran, Director of Enforcement Appeals and Litigation Division at CBSA

Regrets:

  • Moya McAlister, Communications Manager, National Self-Represented Litigants Project

1. Welcome and Gratitude

Ms. Crocco thanked participants for helping with the Advisory Committee (AC); she indicated that their time and effort are appreciated.

Ms. Crocco said that she envisions making multiple changes to the current CART policies and this is why the Committee was created and why the members’ participation on the AC will be critical.

2. Roundtable Introductions

Members introduced themselves.

3. Vision for Advisory Committee

Ms. Crocco said that her vision is to have the AC discuss the changes to CART’s procedures that it is contemplating, and to discuss changes that CART hasn’t yet contemplated but should. The focus will be to ensure that CART’s process is fair, timely, and accessible to all Canadians.

Information about the AC’s mandate will be published on CART’s website.

For transparency reasons, CART intends to publish the identity of the people who are members of the AC. When asked, no AC members raised any concerns about the intention.

The AC will not speak about the merits of any case, given that two of its members are adjudicators who need to remain impartial about matters that are, or may come, before CART.

Action - CART will share draft changes to its policies and guidelines with AC members in the coming months.

4. Discussion of Draft Terms of Reference

There were no suggested changes to the AC’s draft Terms of Reference.

Ms. Crocco added that when documents are circulated for comment within the AC, members should feel free to be as detailed or general with their feedback as they like. She also said that the feedback could be sent directly to CART via email or shared at a subsequent AC meeting.

5. Election of Chair of Advisory Committee

Ms. Crocco said that CART is seeking someone to be the Chair of the AC. Pursuant to the Terms of Reference, the Chair will help the AC develop its focus. The Chair will also liaise with CART for the organization and management of the AC’s meetings.

Ms. Parent nominated Mr. Lampron because he represents the producers, entrepreneurs, and farmers that appear before CART. Mr. Lampron agreed to the nomination. Mr. Lampron was unanimously elected the Chair of the AC.

6. Virtual-First Oral Hearings Policy

Ms. Crocco shared that CART recently changed its policies to make it a “virtual-first” tribunal. This means that its oral hearings will be held virtually unless there are exceptional reasons to hold an oral hearing in person. Ms. Crocco sought the AC’s thoughts on this change.

Ms. Charlton indicated that reliable internet connections are less of an issue for farmers across the country. She said that in very few remote locations there may still be some issues, but nothing major.

Mr. Lampron said that sometimes virtual meetings can be difficult where interpreters are used.

Ms. Foran and Ms. Nobre indicated that their agencies fully support virtual-first hearings. However, Ms. Foran shared that the CBSA employees cannot access Zoom using the CBSA network, and therefore would prefer Teams in general.

7. Next Meeting Dates

Ms. Crocco indicated that for the next 2 years, the AC will meet 3 times a year: in September, January and late April or early May. She said that meeting regularly will permit the AC to consult on draft changes to policies.

The meetings will typically be one hour in duration.

If members are unable to attend a meeting, they are welcome to send a delegate.

Members may also be asked for ad hoc feedback on items in between the scheduled meetings.

8. Additional Member

Ms. Crocco indicated that she is looking for one more member of the AC who would bring a perspective of a young, racialized farmer. Members were asked to advise Ms. Crocco if they have ideas of anyone who might fit this description who would be interested in joining the AC.

In the next week, invitations will be sent out to AC members for the next three meeting dates.