Currently, most hearing events are being conducted virtually by way of video conference call unless directed otherwise by the Tribunal. If you wish to request an in-person hearing, please provide a written request to the assigned Case Coordinator at the earliest possible opportunity. These requests will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
The Video Hearing Guide provides parties and participants with best practices to facilitate an efficient hearing event. The Guide also describes the expectations of all parties or persons who participate in a video hearing.
Video hearings are conducted through the GoToMeeting (GTM) platform.
Types of Hearing Events
Depending on your objection, appeal or application you may be involved in different types of hearing events. A formal process will be initiated to structure how the objection, appeal or application will be heard and how a party, participant and members of the public will be permitted to participate.
Case Management Conferences (CMC)
The parties may be required to participate in a Case Management Conference (CMC) before a hearing for the following purposes:
- To identify additional parties and participants to the proceeding.
- To identify, define or narrow the issues raised in the proceeding.
- To identify facts or evidence that may be agreed upon or upon which the Tribunal may make a binding decision.
- To obtain admissions that may simplify the hearing, which may include the examination of persons by the Tribunal as part of the conference.
- To provide directions for disclosure of information.
- To discuss opportunities for resolving one or more issues in the proceeding, including the possible use of mediation or other dispute resolution processes.
- To establish dates by which any steps in the proceeding are to be taken or begun and determine the order of presentation of submissions.
- To determine the length and schedule of a hearing and the manner of conducting it.
- To deal with any other matter that may assist in the fair, just and expeditious resolution of the issues.
Please note that evidence is not presented at a CMC and is reserved for the hearing on the merits.
Following the CMC, an order will be issued to establish and direct the procedure for the hearing in order to ensure the issues in dispute are disposed of in the most fair, just, expeditious and cost-effective manner.
Learn more about “Case Management Conferences” in our Hearings Guide.
Mediation may be requested by the parties to address and settle any issue(s) raised in the proceeding. If the request is granted, a date for mediation will be set. If the mediation is successful and a settlement is achieved, your matter will proceed to a settlement hearing. If the mediation is not successful, the matter will proceed to a hearing on the merits.
Learn more about “Mediation”.
During a hearing, also known as a hearing on the merits, you will be expected to present your case. You will also have an opportunity to cross-examine anyone who is giving evidence for the other party or parties.
What happens at a hearing?
Step 1: Case presentation
You and each party will give a short opening statement to inform what the case is about.
Step 2: Direct examination
If you are the applicant or appellant, you will usually present first and start with what is known as “direct examination” of you and/or your witness(es). This is your opportunity to present your case.
Step 3: Cross-examination
Once the direct examination is completed, you and/or your witnesses will then be “cross examined” by the party in opposition. You may be asked questions about the issue(s) in dispute.
Step 4: Re-direct examination
After cross-examination, further questions of clarification may only be asked by the original person asking questions.
The same process will be afforded to the other parties.
Step 5: Final argument
During the last stage of the hearing, each party will present their “final argument” which is a summary of their case, what they attempted to prove and the way they would like the Tribunal to rule.
Throughout the process, the Member conducting the hearing may also ask questions.
It is important that you listen to any directions that may be provided by the Member. You are encouraged to ask questions of clarification, should the need arise, and to answer questions directly and clearly.
You can represent yourself at the hearing, or you can hire a lawyer or agent to represent you.
Learn more about “Hearings” in our Hearings Guide.
Participating in a Hearing Event
In some cases, individuals – with an interest in the appeal, other than the appellant and statutory parties, may request party or participant status in the proceeding. The specific legislation under which the objection, appeal or application was initiated may set out certain conditions for a person to be granted status by the Tribunal to participate as a party or as a participant.
Please refer to the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure for more information on the role and obligations of a party, including the difference between a party and a participant.
Learn more about “Participating in a Hearing Event” in our Hearings Guide.
Attending a Hearing Event
Parties or their representatives are expected to attend each hearing event scheduled for a case. Hearing events, other than mediation, are open to the public and anyone can attend and watch, unless directed otherwise by the Member(s) pursuant to s.9 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act.
For information on upcoming hearing event, you can search for the case on our “Case Status” page.
Please note that as per Rule 22.5 of the OLT’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, recordings of hearing events – photograph, motion picture, audio, video, or otherwise – is not permitted unless the presiding Tribunal Member authorizes the recording. However, approval would be subject to conditions that no distribution or public re-playing of the recording occurs, and it does not constitute an official transcript of the hearing or a record for use in any subsequent proceeding. Additionally, as per section 29 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, persons found improperly recording hearing events before the OLT and/or distributing those recordings may be liable to a fine of up to $25,000.
Postponing Hearing Events (Adjournments)
Parties in a proceeding may request the Tribunal to postpone or change the date of a hearing event provided they present legitimate reasons. This is known as an “adjournment”.
Learn more about “Postponing Hearing Events” in our Hearings Guide.
Sample Procedural Order
A procedural order is prepared by the parties and submitted to the Tribunal prior to a Case Management Conference for review and approval. A procedural order will outline steps such as the due dates for exchange and filing of disclosure and hearing dates.
A Sample Procedural Order is available on the Forms page.
A hearing plan is required for all types of appeals before the Ontario Land Tribunal that are scheduled for a hearing of four (4) days or more. A hearing plan outlines how the hearing will proceed and ensures the Tribunal is providing enough time to deal with the matter.
It is recommended that the parties meet to discuss the hearing plan before submitting it to the Tribunal. The Tribunal will review and approve the proposed hearing plan and may contact parties if additional information is needed.
A sample Hearing Plan is available on the “Hearing Plan” page of the OLT website.