Some of you may already be familiar with BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). The CRT can help you resolve certain disputes quickly in variety of different ways. In this blog post we will cover some of the basics. When can you use the CRT? What in the world is a solution explorer? We’ve gathered this information from their website so you can have a better grasp of what to expect from the CRT.
What kind of things can the CRT help you with?
The CRT can help you try to resolve small claims disputes under $5,000 and strata (condominium) disputes of any amount. For more information on the specifics of either of these types of disputes, visit the jurisdiction page on the CRT’s website.
How does it work?
Here is the process you follow if you have a dispute that you think falls within the guidelines of the CRT:
1. The Solution Explorer:
You must start here. The Solution Explorer is an online resource that will walk you through your issue and help determine the best path for you to take. It has information and tools that may help you resolve your dispute before making a claim. The CRT has a 3 minute video that shows how to use this tool. If you can’t resolve the issue using the Solution Explorer, then you can start the Tribunal Process.
2. The Tribunal Process:
This is a multi-step process and disputes may be resolved at any stage. The steps below are a bare bones guideline. If you want more detailed information, please visit the CRT website.
Filing a dispute – First, submit an application for dispute resolution. After that you pay a fee. Then, you will receive a dispute notification package, which will outline your next steps. Remember that you should have all the necessary information before you start your application (because you can’t save your application mid-way through).
Responding to a dispute – If you receive a Dispute Notice from someone (you can receive this notice in a variety of ways), you must respond and follow the timelines set out in the form. You then must wait for the CRT to contact you before negotiation begins.
Negotiation – This step allows you to negotiate with the other party and potentially end the dispute. It is the fastest and cheapest way to resolve your issue.
Facilitation – If you can’t resolve the issue using the steps above, a dispute resolution expert steps in and acts as a neutral facilitator. Each side provides evidence to support their position.
The Tribunal Decision Process – You use this step if you can’t resolve your dispute during negotiation or facilitation. One of the CRT’s tribunal members will look at the evidence and make a final decision. The CRT member may also make orders for the parties to pay money or do certain things.
3. How the process ends:
After you receive your CRT tribunal decision, your options depend on whether you have a strata dispute or a small claims dispute. It also depends on whether or not you agree with the decision. The CRT has more comprehensive information on their website about what happens after you receive a decision from them.
Where to go for more information
If you have any questions about the CRT, visit their website. They have a lot of information available. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, you may be interested in contacting the CRT directly.
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use all the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Visit our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca for more information.