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A report of the Ontario ombudsman has 61 recommendations to clean up the backlog of cases at the Landlord and Tenant Board. The backlog had grown to 38,000 in January.COLE BURSTON/The Canadian Press

The long-awaited report from Ontario’s ombudsperson on the causes of “excruciatingly long” delays in administration of justice at the province’s largest tribunal is packed with awful stories of individual hardship for landlords and tenants.

Ombudsman Paul Dube said a “perfect storm” of factors conspired to massively increase the backlog after the 2018 Ontario election, and his office’s latest report, Administrative Justice Delayed, Fairness Denied, has 61 recommendations on how to fix things. The ideas are big and small, some technological some legislative or regulatory, but the conclusion is the LTB and Tribunals Ontario need to move on immediately and stop doing the same old thing. “The Board has proven itself unequipped for the task of reducing its extraordinary backlog of applications,” the report states. (The Ministry of the Attorney General has said that it is spending $28.5-million on a new case management system for Tribunals Ontario.)

The report is full of personal anecdotes that paint a damning picture, according to the official opposition NDP, but the cold hard numbers are if anything more daunting.

The LTB backlog by the numbers:

7-8: Number of months it takes on average to schedule a landlord application.

24: Number of months it can take to schedule a tenant application.

19,000: Number of scheduled applications pending at the board in 2019.

30,440: Backlog of applications by July 31, 2020, after the first pandemic eviction ban was lifted.

38,000: Backlog as of January, 2023.

9,323: Number of tenant applications in the backlog: two date back to 2017, 13 to 2018 and 78 to 2019.

11: Percentage of tenant applications in the 61,586 applications heard over 2021-2022 at the LTB.

25: Percentage of tenant applications in the backlog.

15: Number of words in this damning quote from the report: “It is unconscionable to permit tenant applications to lie dormant for up to six years.”

42: Average number of days it takes the board to schedule an “urgent” matter – such as “illegal acts or for causing serious problems in a rental unit” as of late 2022.

8: Number of months the board took to schedule an urgent hearing in one case involving an overcrowded unit where police had been called to respond to assaults and crime. Explanation: “They just didn’t schedule it.”

300: Number of applications the board needs to resolve per day to not have a backlog

50-60: Number of cases LTB an adjudicator was scheduled to hear per working day in 2019.

60-80: Number of cases assigned by March, 2021.

7-8: Number of cases adjourned per day, per adjudicator from May to July, 2021. Adjourned cases often go to the back of the backlog, if they aren’t lost entirely.

158: Cap on the number of full-time adjudicators allotted to Tribunals Ontario

122: Number of separate steps it takes to get an appointment to the LTB.

3-5: Number of months it takes to go from nominated to appointed to the LTB. (Some have taken as little as four weeks, some take nine months.) “Delay is endemic to the process for appointing members to the Board,” the report states.

44: Percentage of LTB members qualified to hear all cases in August, 2021. There were 72 members appointed, but only 32 could hear all matters, nine more could hear some cases, nine could only hear eviction for non-payment of rent and 20 were in training.

600: Number of orders one full-time adjudicator failed to issue in 2020 after falling behind over a period of months. They were taken off the schedule for new hearings to catch up. “I couldn’t even write an order because I didn’t know how. … It was a horrible experience,” the unnamed member told Mr. Dube.

388: Number of cases that had to be reassigned and reheard after a single member stopped producing orders in December, 2022, before going on leave in March, 2023.

$6.5-million: Money the province allocated to hire 40 more adjudicators after seeing Mr. Dube’s report.

“They [the PC Government] have failed, the problems have gotten worse and tenants and landlords across Ontario are suffering as a result,” said NDP housing critic Jessica Bell.