A short-handed Tribunal short-changes Canada’s trade obligations

  • February 27, 2018

What can have 12 members, normally has six and currently has, effectively, three?

That would be the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, which is in a precarious state, according to the CBA’s Administrative Law and Commodity Tax, Customs and Trade Sections.

“A severely shorthanded Tribunal greatly affects its ability to perform its statutory duties in an efficient and effective manner,” the Sections wrote in a letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

The Tribunal is in a “difficult situation” when the Acting Chair can’t assign members to hear matters if their terms are expired – or will expire before the matter is concluded.

“A fully staffed Tribunal is also particularly important, given Canada’s international trade obligations and the importance of protecting its credibility in light of Canada’s (and other WTO members’) criticism of the United States’ blocking appointments to the WTO Appellate Body,” the Sections add.

The Sections urged the Minister to confirm a permanent Chair and to fill all the vacancies as quickly as possible.

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