Ontario Land Tribunal
655 Bay Street, Suite 1500, Toronto, ON M5G 1E5
Tel: 416-212-6349 | 1-866-448-2248
Web Site: olt.gov.on.ca
Video Hearing Guide
Effective: June 29, 2021
This Guide applies to all electronic hearing events held using video conference technology (“video hearings”) under Rule 20 of the Ontario Land Tribunal’s (“Tribunal”) Rules of Practice and Procedure
”). This Rule provides that the Tribunal may direct a video hearing on its own initiative or on the parties’ request. This Guide is intended to facilitate an efficient hearing event and it describes the expectations for all parties or persons who participate in a video hearing.
This Guide does not amend the Rules
nor limit the Tribunal’s statutory powers, including the Tribunal’s statutory power to organize hearing events. Any directions of a Tribunal Member in a specific case prevail over this Guide.
Video hearings can reduce costs and increase the accessibility of Tribunal proceedings. At the same time however, the Tribunal recognizes that not every case is suitable for a video hearing. Rule 20.2 allows a party to object to a video hearing, and the Tribunal will consider and dispose of an objection filed under this Rule. Accessibility or accommodation requests may be dealt with by the Accessibility Coordinator at OLT.Coordinator@ontario.ca
A video hearing is a hearing event and the Rules
apply. The conduct of a hearing by videos does not change the obligations of witnesses and counsel to conduct themselves in accordance with the rules of professional conduct of their applicable professions. Counsel is reminded that the Law Society of Ontario’s Rules of Professional Conduct (in particular Rule 5.4.2)
for communication with witnesses continue to apply during both examination-in- chief and cross examination.
Unless otherwise stated in a procedural order or direction by the Tribunal, a video hearing is open to the public. Anyone wishing to observe a video hearing should write to the Tribunal’s case coordinator/planner, citing the case number, to obtain the details of the hearing.
It is important for all persons who participate in a video hearing to recognize their obligation to prepare well in advance of the hearing event. Successful management of a video hearing requires all parties to take additional steps prior to a hearing and it also requires the cooperation of all parties prior to and during the hearing. This Guide addresses parties’, counsel’s, participants’, and witnesses’ general obligations in preparation of a video hearing.
Please refer to the GoToMeeting Tip Sheet
available on the Tribunal’s webpage
for specific information and instructions regarding how to attend a video meeting using the GoToMeeting platform.
Like any other hearing event, a person or party who fails to attend can expect the Tribunal to proceed in their absence and determine their rights and obligations.
Third-Party Platform Providers
The Tribunal recognizes that the parties to certain cases may wish to agree upon and obtain the services of an approved suitable third-party platform provider (such as Arbitration Place or a court reporting service) and assume all associated costs or enter into a cost- sharing agreement to facilitate the video hearing. The Tribunal will not take part in the parties’ process or discussion with respect to the details of a cost-sharing arrangement. The Tribunal may give specific directions with respect to the scope and nature of the services obtained, when it deems it necessary to do so.
The Tribunal may use various platforms for videoconferences including GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. The tribunal will advise of the specific platform in use for each specific hearing. It is recommended that you test your use of the specific platform in advance of the hearing.
At a minimum, those appearing at the video hearing should have a computer (or smart phone or tablet), a microphone, a video/web camera, and an internet connection with sufficient bandwidth to support video hearings. The Tribunal will provide a call-in phone number for participants lacking the required technology so they can participate in or observe the hearing by telephone.
Some platforms do not provide a “breakout room” function. Parties and counsel are expected to make their own arrangements for their confidential discussions when on break from a video hearing. In the rare circumstances where a Tribunal Member needs to talk to counsel in camera
, the Member may recess the hearing and request the parties and participants to temporarily disconnect from the video hearing.
Best Practices for a Video Hearing
- Avoid background noises that might disrupt the video hearing: set up in a quiet Turn off notifications or silence other electronic devices. Keep your microphone muted when you are not speaking. If possible, use a headset with a built-in microphone.
- Make sure the primary device you are using to join the meeting is fully charged and plugged
- Make sure all the documents that you may rely on in the hearing are easily
- Log in to the hearing 15 minutes early to allow Tribunal staff finish setting up the video hearing and identify the parties, counsel, and participants.
- Remember that the camera does not always capture hand gestures or nonverbal cues, so it is important to verbalize all
- Use the “raise hand” function as o indicate to the Member that you wish their attention, for example to make an objection.
- Do not disconnect from the video hearing during breaks – instead, simply turn your video camera and microphone
Preparing for Your Video Hearing
Successful management of a video hearing requires parties to take additional steps prior to a hearing, as well as cooperation between the parties prior to and during the hearing.
Generally speaking, parties are required to:
- Ensure they, including their counsel and witnesses, acquire and test the required hardware and software.
- Attempt to limit the issues before the Tribunal at the video hearing (e.g. by identifying issues that can be dealt with through written submissions).
- Cooperate with the parties to identify agreed facts and
- Discuss whether there is a need to deviate from this Guide (e.g. is there a need for accommodation?).
- Ensure all materials are filed electronically in advance of the event in accordance with the Tribunal’s electronic submission requirements as outlined in a notice or procedural order, and the Tribunal Member’s
- Ensure that the documents filed electronically are accessible and can be shared during the video
- Instruct and prepare their witnesses for a video hearing (please see the guidelines for witnesses below).
Please note that a Tribunal Member may determine that additional or fewer preparatory steps are necessary.
Seeking Status at a First Hearing Event
Persons other than the appellant(s), applicant, municipality or approval authority who wish to participate in the proceeding, either as a party or as a participant, are expected to file a
Party Status Request Form or Participant Status Request/Participant Statement Form to outline their interest in the proceeding within the timeframe outlined in the Notice.
The Party Status Request Form and Participant Status Request/Participant Statement Form are available on the Tribunal’s website
and are to be used to assist with the preparation of the request.
Video hearings need to be efficient and well-organized. Parties and counsel are expected to cooperate and ensure efficiency in evidence in chief. To this end, parties will be expected to file a Statement of Agreed Facts and Issues and a joint document book.
All documents, with the exception of cross examination documents, must be filed electronically and in hard copy. Hard copies of documents must be filed at least 15 days before the video hearing and electronic copies must be filed at least 5 days before the video hearing, unless directed otherwise by the member.
Electronically filed documents should be labelled in accordance with the Tribunal’s naming convention:
case number_party role_ document type_date of hearing event
For example:PL123456_Applicant_Notice of Motion_Jan 1, 2020
Where appropriate, documents are to be submitted as searchable PDFs. All document books, including joint document books, and books of authorities should include hyperlinks to the various tabbed documents if available. Pages should be numbered sequentially; the title page need to be included as page one.
Citations of case authorities, primary and secondary sources should include hyperlinks to the cited document. Links to case authorities on CanLII should be primarily used, using Westlaw or LexisNexis Advance only where the case is not available on CanLII.
Parties are also encouraged to submit a condensed book containing excerpts from authorities to which they will refer to in an oral argument in PDF format. The condensed book should reference and preserve all original page numbering and indicate the source of each excerpt or document to ensure the ability to cross-reference and avoid confusion.
Documents for cross examination may be filed only electronically and should be filed using the OLT Secure Email
Specific filing directions for a proceeding, including a list of documents to be filed by each party and their respective filing timelines, will be provided in the Procedural Order, or the Appointment for Hearing by Video in cases where a Case Management Conference (CMC) is not required before the hearing.
Witnesses are expected to conduct themselves in every respect as if they are in an in- person hearing. Witnesses should make their best efforts to be alone. Witnesses may not seek or receive assistance, through any means, including electronic means, from any third party, including but not limited to their client or their client’s legal counsel, during the course of cross-examination or re-examination.
All documents on which a witness will rely at the hearing, including expert witness statements and affidavits, must be pre-filed in accordance with electronic submission requirements as outlined in a notice or procedural order, and the Tribunal Member’s directions. Expert witnesses are required to sign and file the Tribunal’s Acknowledgment of Expert’s Duty Form
Witnesses must be ready to join the hearing at the time they are assigned. When a witness is providing evidence, their camera and microphone must be on at all times. The camera should be positioned so that the Member and parties can clearly see the witness, including their whole face.
Witnesses are encouraged, and may be directed, to display copies of the documents they refer to using the screen sharing functionality and may make references to the electronic document book. Witnesses are expected to have hard copy and digital copies of their witness statements, affidavits or other materials related to the appeal for their own reference.
Recording of Video Hearings Requires Permission of Tribunal
Members of the public may take notes of the hearing event. However, under Rule 22 of the OLT’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, the recording of hearing events – photograph, motion picture, audio, video, screenshot or otherwise – is not permitted unless the presiding Tribunal Member authorizes the recording. Approval may be subject to conditions that no distribution or public re-playing of the recording occurs, and that it does not constitute an official transcript of the hearing or a record for use in any subsequent proceeding.
To request permission, please contact the OLT in advance of the hearing event.
Please note that 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.
Changes to this Guide
The Tribunal may amend or alter this Guide without notice or further consultation.