Practice Directions support the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) Rules of Procedure and provide guidance about what the SBT expects of the parties and, in turn, what the parties can expect from the SBT. They assist in understanding the Rules.
Hearings will take place on the date and time contained in the Notice of Hearing, unless the SBT agrees to change the date or time.
Parties are expected to begin preparing for the hearing as soon as the appeal is filed. Parties who wish to have legal assistance should act immediately to find a legal representative. Hearings will not be rescheduled because of unreasonable or unavoidable delays in seeking legal assistance.
A request to change a hearing date must be made as soon as possible. The requester must provide alternate dates when he or she is available for a new hearing to be scheduled. These new dates must be within 60 days of the originally scheduled date.
Adjournment requests will be granted only in exceptional circumstances where it is required by fairness.
The SBT will not consider a request to change a hearing date that applies to more than one case (for example, a request to reschedule a block of cases due to a representative not being available for an entire week). A request to change a hearing date must be made separately for each file, unless the files are related and scheduled to be heard at the same time.
The SBT shall give parties at least 30 days notice of the hearing, and longer where required, according to the SBT's scheduling timeframe guidelines. (See Appendix A - Scheduling Timeframes)
The 30-day minimum notice applies only to the first notice of hearing. If the hearing date in that first notice is changed, there is still a requirement for reasonable notice to be given, but this may be shorter than 30 days.
The SBT may schedule a hearing with less than 30 days notice if the parties provide their written consent to waive this requirement.
A party may request administrative rescheduling of a hearing in the following situations:
(See Appendix B for a detailed schedule of administrative rescheduling opportunities.)
A party's request to change a hearing date by way of administrative rescheduling must be in writing, unless it is an emergency situation. The request must include the reason that a new date is required. The request need not be provided to the other party; nor is consent required.
The SBT may determine that a party's request for administrative rescheduling should be treated as an adjournment request. If the SBT notifies the requester that an adjournment must be requested, the requester must follow all of the steps for requesting an adjournment.
From time to time, the SBT must reschedule a hearing because of changes in the hearing schedule, member illness or other circumstances. In these circumstances, the SBT may administratively reschedule a hearing date without prior notice to one or both parties, either at the SBT's own initiative or at the request of a party.
Before a party submits an adjournment request to the SBT, the party must contact the other party and try to obtain consent. The written adjournment request must include information about when and how the requester provided the other party with notice of the request, and where applicable written confirmation that the other party consents.
An adjournment request must be in writing and must include detailed reasons why a new date is required. The request must also include information about any previous adjournment or rescheduling requests that were denied by the SBT. Where available, the requester shall provide a daytime telephone number where he or she can be reached.
A party who does not agree with an adjournment request must provide written reasons and send them to the SBT and to the requester. The SBT's copy of the response must include information about when and how the party provided the requester with the response.
In deciding whether to allow an adjournment the SBT may consider any of the following circumstances if applicable:
Scheduling conflicts or vacations of legal representatives will rarely be a reason to allow an adjournment. It is expected that someone else in the office will be able to attend the hearing on behalf of the party.
In an appeal of a decision that a person is not a person with a disability made under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997, under section 64(3) of Regulation 222/98, the SBT has no power to adjourn a hearing date to permit an Appellant to obtain further medical reports.
A request to adjourn the hearing received less than 14 days before the hearing date is considered a late request. Generally, all late requests will be referred to the presiding member to make a ruling on the day of the hearing, because there is not enough time for the SBT to consider it before the hearing.
Where possible, the SBT will try to consider late requests for an adjournment in situations involving last minute emergencies or other compassionate grounds beyond a party's control, such as hospitalization, incarceration or serious illness.
Depending on the time available, the SBT will notify the parties in writing or by telephone of its ruling on an adjournment request. If the requester does not receive a response to the adjournment request, he or she should proceed as if the request has been denied - that is, prepare for and attend the hearing.
The SBT may decline to make a ruling on the adjournment request, and instead refer the request to the presiding member at the hearing if it is concerned that there are issues which are more appropriately dealt with by a member in a hearing.
Where the request is not allowed, the parties and any legal representatives will be expected to be present and be ready to proceed with the hearing. If necessary, a party at the beginning of the hearing may make a new request for an adjournment.
|Late Submissions||Where DAU Submission received by Appellant less than three months prior to hearing date.||First Hearing Date Only
Only for ODSP not-disabled cases
Only on request of Appellant
|Short Hearing Notice||SBT scheduled first hearing date for less than four months after Request for Submission||First Hearing Date only
Only for ODSP not-disabled cases
Only on request of Appellant
|Appellant Incarcerated||Cannot attend hearing||SBT receives information that Appellant is incarcerated|
|Tribunal's Scheduling Instructions Not Followed||Instructions for rescheduling not followed - e.g. interpreter, hearing details, limited reconsideration, member seized||By either the ARO or at the request of a party|
|Lack of Notice||SBT failed to send notice to the address for the party and/or legal representative on record at the time notice is generated||SBT Error - Notice of Hearing flawed - change of address not noted, legal representative not noted, incorrect hearing details By either the ARO or at the request of a party|
|Emergency||Either party or their legal representative advises of a serious personal emergency or illness||24 hours before the hearing where no prior rescheduling for the same reason
At the request of the party
|Appellant Moves||Wishes to change hearing location||Only for the first move - afterward refer to Vice-Chair|
|Multiple Related Files Not Scheduled Together||Appellant has several related appeal files; parties have requested they be scheduled together||By either the ARO or at the request of a party|
|21 Days Notice of Scheduling Conflict||Legal representative not available for hearing||Representative notifies SBT in writing - within 21 days of date of Notice of Hearing -providing nature of conflict, alternate dates when available within 60 days of the scheduled hearing date|