Mr. Bruce Haines Q.C. is a past chairman of the Canadian Justice Review Board. He has 35 years experience as a practicing lawyer, including "Personal Injuries" ,"Wrongful Dismissal" and a variety of other areas such as insurance claims, contract disputes and the defence of lawsuits and claims. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1958 and in 1961 earned an LL.B degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law followed by admission to the Bar in 1963. Mr. Haines Q.C. is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Civil Litigation, and as a Specialist in Family Law. He was appointed Queen's Counsel, Province of Ontario and appointed as an Instructor Bar Admission Course, Criminal Procedure .
CHAIRMAN'S REPORT June 12, 2008
One of my concerns has been the unfair legal process that confronts the average citizen in such basic matters as municipal property taxation and in particular residential property assessment in Ontario. This matter received the attention of Ontario's Ombudsman in his March 2006, entitled, Getting It Right. While neither the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation nor the Government of Ontario have made any serious effort to implement the most important of Mr. Marin's recommendations, it is gratifying to see that the information with which the CJRB hopes to educate the public is beginning to take hold and have an impact.
Recently I had an opportunity to meet with one of the CJRB's associate members Mr. Duart Crabtree. Mr. Crabtree was in Toronto and David MacAlpine and I met with him and Paul Mesburis to review our common interests in matters MPAC and the ARB. Mr. Crabtree spoke well of the CJRB and has, along with others, made good use of the educational materials posted on the CJRB website.
Past chairman David Kahn noted in his keynote speech last year that -the foundation of a peaceful and just society is the rule of law - and - this presupposes that the law and those who administrate it command wide respect. Although my special interest has been the judicial function of the Assessment Review Board, we at the CJRB have special insights into various other aspects of our justice system that are in urgent need of reform.
During the past year, your Board has continued to bring these issues to the notice of members and the wider public through copying published reports, letters, articles and speeches on its website. Monthly reports of activities and the increasing popularity of the website have been prepared and distributed by our Executive Director and founding member William Nichol. I am pleased to say that readership of these articles reached an all time high in May of this year and that we can all look forward to even greater successes in the coming year.
In 2007 our colleague and first past chairman Professor Rob Martin was appointed to the Judicial Selection Committee for south and western Ontario. Following up his successful presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice last year, our colleague retired judge Wallace Craig was invited to speak to the Annual Convention of the Canadian Police Association in August and in December he was appointed a member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. CJRB director Dr. Al Rosen addressed the House of Commons Finance Committee in February to warn of significant and unethical accounting practices that threaten to undermine the foundation of justice, and in October, CJRB director Dr. Glenn Fox, and CJRB founder member Karen Selick addressed the "Future of Freedom Conference" at the downtown Delta Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, as we continue to press for needed improvement. Our colleague Brian Ford has become busy with adjudications in Toronto and has informed us with regret that he will retire. Brian is a founder member and we thank him for his 5-years of service to the Board.
In particular, I would like to express the Board's appreciation to David Kahn for his stewardship as chairman for the past two years running, and for his energetic pursuit of matter of interest to the Board. I am also grateful for the support of the Executive Director, Vice chairman and Treasurer and other Board members.
Bruce Haines Q.C.
CHAIRMAN'S REPORT 2009
This year I am pleased to report that I was able to prepare an update concerning the procedure people must follow to appeal property tax assessments. It has been my long-standing concern that the appeal process placed an unfair burden of proof on property owners by requiring them to show that Municipal Property Assessment Corporation's (MPAC) opinion is erroneous.
New rules introduced this year now place the burden of proof on MPAC to prove the "correctness". This is a small but important step forward in leveling the playing field for the average citizen appearing before an adjudication board such as the Ontario Assessment Review Board (ARB). It is result of efforts by many people who have been influenced or educated by material such as is posted on the Canadian Justice Review Board (CJRB) website.
It is important to note that the ARB has introduced an entirely new set of Rules of Practice which took effect on April 1, 2009. I am currently working on a summary of the changes and hope to have them available for the CJRB website in the not too distant future.
This year CJRB director Hazel Magnussen and CJRB director Ted DeCoste launched an initiative to better educate law students about the needs and rights of crime victims. Professor DeCoste received permission to use a Legal Case Book regarding Crime Victims' Rights, which was developed by Professor Alan Young from Osgoode Hall Law School and Steve Sullivan, the federal Victims' Ombudsman, during his tenure as president of the Canadian Resource Center for Victims of Crime.
In addition, CJRB director Hazel Magnussen was invited to be part of the opening plenary panel at the Safe, Respectful & Inclusive Workplaces: Stakeholders and Strategies Conference that was held May 28-29 2009 at the University of Western Ontario.
Although my special interest has been the judicial function of the Assessment Review Board, we at the CJRB have special insights into various other aspects of our justice system that are in urgent need of reform.
During the past year, your Board has continued to bring these issues to the notice of members and the wider public through copying published reports, letters, articles and speeches on its website. I am pleased to report that in 2008-2009 the CJRB attracted more new associate member subscribers than ever before. Monthly reports of activities and the increasing popularity of the website have been prepared and distributed by our Executive Director and founding member William Nichol. I am pleased to say that readership of these articles continues to grow that we can all look forward to even greater successes in the coming year.
While I am pleased with everything that has been achieved, I am conscious that there is a long way to go and that we should consider new ways of increasing our impact. It has been an honour to serve as chairman of this distinguished Board and I am most grateful for the unstinting support of the Executive Director, our Vice-chairman, Treasurer and other Board members. I look forward to making contributions in the future as a past member of the executive.
Bruce Haines Q.C.
The directors of the Canadian Justice Review Board come from various walks of life and occupations. We represent a broad range of Canadians who are concerned about the state of the justice system.