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Table of Contents
- Language and Hearing Site
- Hearings Procedure
- Preparing for a Hearing
- Costs of the Hearing
These guidelines are designed to assist individuals or groups who
are preparing to present a case before the Tribunal. They are guidelines
The main thing to keep in mind is that the Tribunal can only rule
on the evidence and submissions that are placed before it. The hearing
time and date specified on your Notice of Hearing have been assigned
to your case, and it is wise to take the time to prepare and present
your case fully and completely so that the Tribunal has the facts
and evidence that it needs to make an informed decision.
Language and Hearing Site
Hearings are normally conducted in English in a room provided by
the Tribunal or the municipality. If you require French language
services or physical accommodation you must inform the Tribunal
staff as soon as possible so that your needs can be provided for
at the hearing.
Although hearings before the Tribunal are similar to court hearings,
they are less formal. Parties appearing before the Tribunal are
not required to be represented by legal counsel, but are free to
have legal representation, if they so wish. Certain minimum procedural
rules apply to hearings before the Tribunal, and it is useful for
parties intending to appear before the Tribunal to be familiar with
these procedures. (Reference, the Statutory
Power Procedure Act)
Appeals are normally heard by a panel of three or more Tribunal
members, and presided over by a member assigned by the Tribunal
Chair. The panel hearing an appeal has members with background and
expertise in the subject matter of the appeal. The main parties
to appeals are the person or group appealing, known as the appellant;
and the person who made the decision that is under appeal (the municipality,
program administrator, marketing board, the Farm Products Marketing
Commission, or the Director), known as the respondent.
The order of presentation at most hearings, is as follows:
- The panel Chair outlines the procedures to be followed for the
- The appellant presents his or her case to the Tribunal panel
first. The appellant chooses the manner of presentation of his
or her case. This could involve: reading a written presentation,
presenting verbal evidence, calling witnesses, and the presentation
of documents to the Tribunal. The appellant may wish to outline
briefly the matters to be considered by the Tribunal at the beginning
of the presentation. Appellants may have someone else act as their
spokesperson if they wish (e.g. their lawyer, accountant or other
advisers). The object of the appellant's presentation is to present
to the Tribunal all of the facts that are relevant to his or her
case and to persuade the Tribunal that the appellant's position
is the correct one and that his or her request should be granted.
- The respondent has the opportunity to question the appellant,
and any witnesses who testify on behalf of the appellant. The
Tribunal panel will also have a chance to question the appellant
and the appellant's witnesses.
- Following the completion of the appellant's case, the respondent
will make its presentation. The appellant will then be given an
opportunity to question the respondent and its witnesses. The
Tribunal panel will also have the opportunity to question the
- The appellant will have the opportunity to provide evidence
in reply to any new matter that is raised by the respondent. However,
it is emphasized that the appellant must try to cover his or her
whole case during the initial presentation.
- Following the presentation of evidence by the parties, both
sides will be given an opportunity to sum up or present their
argument before the conclusion of the hearing.
- When the hearing is complete the parties leave and the Tribunal
deliberates the evidence and makes its decision. A written decision,
with reasons, is sent to the parties, usually within 30 days of
completing the hearing.
So the Tribunal can focus attention on the issues, it is helpful
for the respondent and appellant to discuss the case before coming
to the Tribunal to determine which issues they agree can be resolved
and which issues the Tribunal must rule on.
In appeals under the Drainage
Act, the engineer who prepared the report under appeal will
be asked at the start of the hearing to provide an overview of the
project. This introduces the Tribunal to the project and the issues.
Questions of clarification are allowed when the engineer has finished
this brief presentation. If assessments are under appeal, the engineer
will then be asked to provide the details of how the assessments
were calculated. Appellants then present their case as outlined
In appeals under the Farm
Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act normally
the appellant presents their case to the panel, the panel asks questions
and compares the evidence provided to the criteria specified in
the legislation and makes a decision. A respondent is not normally
If at any point in the hearing, a party is unsure of the procedure
to be followed, he or she can ask the Chair for direction.
Preparing For A Hearing
Most people who appear before the Tribunal, find that they are
more comfortable and make a better presentation if they take the
time to organize their information, documents and witnesses beforehand.
It may be useful to write down the points that you wish to cover,
or a brief summary of what the case is about, which can be referred
to or read to the Tribunal panel at the hearing.
Although the Tribunal has read the materials filed prior to the
hearing, you should not assume that the Tribunal panel has any prior
knowledge about your case, your operation or the way that your industry
operates in relation to your case. It is best to provide as complete
a picture of your situation as possible to the Tribunal panel so
that it has a full understanding of your circumstances, and what
it is that you are requesting.
Every effort should be made to substantiate any facts or statements
that you present to the Tribunal. It is better to present the Tribunal
with first-hand knowledge or evidence whenever possible. If you
are relying on information that someone else has told you that directly
concerns your case, bring the person who has direct knowledge of
that information to testify. The next best option would be to bring
that information to the hearing in a written document signed by
If you have documents that support the case that you are making
to the Tribunal, including copies of correspondence, business records,
photographs and the like, the Notice of Hearing directs that the
parties deliver to each other party one copy of all relevant documentary
evidence and other materials of any kind whatsoever intended to
be filed at the hearing as an exhibit and a specified number of
copies to be delivered to the Tribunal by a date specified in the
notice of hearing. The presentation of the parties may be included
if desired. These documents are normally entered as exhibits in
the hearing and are left with the Tribunal so make sure you have
a copy for yourself that you can take away with you after the hearing.
If you bring additional documents to the hearing be sure you have
enough copies for the Tribunal and the other parties to the hearing.
If you are bringing expert evidence, either in person or by expert
report, tell the other parties before the hearing date and provide
them with the expert opinion so they can adequately respond at the
hearing without the need to ask for an adjournment.
It is not necessary for you to send in your argument in advance
but you can if you wish.
Hearings before the Tribunal are public and the exhibits are available
to the public. You should consider the need for confidentiality
of the documents you provide. If you have confidential information
that is vital to your case you can ask that the confidential information
be provided at the hearing "in camera" (everyone but the
parties, Tribunal and staff have to leave the hearing room) and
that any written confidential information be sealed and put in the
file. You will have to persuade the panel that the information is
in fact confidential before this privilege is allowed.
Hearings not Recorded
The Tribunal does not generally have a court reporter record its
proceedings and therefore no transcript of the proceedings will
be produced. Parties may arrange for a court reporter to record
the proceedings, at their own expense, but must give the Tribunal
five days notice of their intention to do so. See Rule 16 of the
Tribunal's Rules of Procedure.
Rules of Procedure
The Tribunal's complete Rules of Procedure can be accessed at www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/tribunal/about/rules-of-procedure.htm,
or from Tribunal staff.
Costs of the Hearing
The Drainage Tribunal has the authority to award the costs of a hearing
between the parties. Section 98 (11) of the Act specifies what costs
the Tribunal can award. The section is as follows:
98. (11) The costs chargeable or to be awarded in any proceedings
may include the costs of witnesses and of procuring their attendance,
the costs of secretarial staff and such other costs as the Tribunal
may direct. R.S.O. 1980, c. 126, s. 98(11).
The Drainage Tribunal does, when it considers it appropriate, award
costs of hearings to parties. This means that the municipality may
have to pay part of the cost of the appellant or the appellant may
have to pay the cost of the municipality depending on the decision
of the Tribunal.
For all other Tribunals each party pays their own costs incurred
for the hearing.
Toll Free: 1-888-466-2372 ext. 63433