On 2017.05.10, I filed an application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for enforcement of the Arbitration Act.
I am not “suing” Pride Toronto. I am asking the court to rule that I have been treated unfairly, in contravention of §6 of the Arbitration Act. The remedy flowing from that ruling is an order that Pride Toronto must speedily begin and finish the steps I asked for in my DRP complaint against Black Lives Matter Toronto.
The full text of the application is as follows, and yes, it really is this short.
The Act states, at §6:
Court intervention limited
No court shall intervene in matters governed by this Act, except for the following purposes...:
To assist the conducting of arbitrations.
To ensure that arbitrations are conducted in accordance with arbitration agreements.
To prevent unequal or unfair treatment of parties to arbitration agreements.
This application is kept as short as possible because the issues are straightforward, because the requested remedies are modest, and to increase the chances that the Court will issue a decision before the 2017 Pride parade (25 June 2017).
Pride Toronto, a nonprofit corporation, is the monopoly organizer of gay-pride marches and parades in Toronto every summer.
In 2010, to address a host of simmering resentments and disagreements, an independent Community Advisory Panel was established. The CAP, led by gay elders, consulted hundreds of members of the gay and lesbian community over many months and ultimately issued a report with over a hundred recommendations. Chief among them was that Pride Toronto should establish a Dispute Resolution Process to handle any and all complaints about groups’ involvement in Pride Toronto marches and parades.
The DRP was meant to be not merely a means of handling complaints but the only means. Anyone could file a complaint alleging that a group violated Pride Toronto rules, and those complaints could be filed before or after a march or parade.
Governed by the Arbitration Act, the Dispute Resolution Process was duly set up by Pride Toronto and has been in use since 2012.
I filed a complaint under the DRP on 30 July 2016. The respondent was Black Lives Matter Toronto, which had been named the honoured group of the 2016 gay-pride parade. Pride Toronto ignored the complaint. It has further ignored written demands that Pride Toronto pursue my complaint.
Pride Toronto offers memberships to qualified persons. One does not have to be a Pride Toronto member to file a DRP complaint. The process of understanding how to become a member requires a flowchart, but I submitted an online membership application, with payment, and later received an automated message suggesting my membership had been approved.
Months later, Pride Toronto ginned up an excuse to cancel my membership just in time for its 2016 annual general meeting – apparent retaliation for daring to use the agreed-upon Dispute Resolution Process against an officially favoured (“honoured”) group.
The Dispute Resolution Process has a chequered past, but it’s the system that all parties agreed to use. All my complaints and demands were ignored by Pride Toronto, which also cancelled my membership.
It doesn’t take nine months to run an arbitral tribunal. Pride Toronto obviously has no intention of carrying out its obligations under the Arbitration Act. As such, I, a party to a proceeding governed by that legislation, am being treated unfairly.
If this process really were fair, then this entire dispute would have been arbitrated last year. It wasn’t.
That my complaint against Black Lives Matter Toronto under Pride Toronto’s Dispute Resolution Process has not been pursued in accordance with the relevant arbitration agreement.
That I, a party to a proceeding governed by the Act, have been treated unfairly.
Remedies flowing from those findings:
Within five business days of the issuance of the Court’s decision, Pride Toronto shall carry out mediation in accordance with the Dispute Resolution Process. The parties to the mediation shall be Black Lives Matter Toronto and me. Mediation must happen in person, i.e., Pride Toronto and Black Lives Matter Toronto representatives must sit in the same room with me, with all of us working in good faith to mediate.
If that mediation fails to reach an agreement, within three business days of such failure Pride Toronto shall begin a full hearing under the Dispute Resolution Process, under the conditions I demanded, including selection of arbitrators and security and accommodation measures.
The foregoing remedies are to be carried out by Pride Toronto without undue delay, and in any event far enough in advance so that a decision by the arbitral panel can be issued well before the dates of of Pride Toronto’s 2017 parades and marches. For clarity, this means the entire process has to have run its course early enough so that, if arbitrators side with me, Black Lives Matter Toronto can be banned from Pride Toronto parades and marches for two years and such banning can happen early enough to actually take effect.