Common Rules


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

HOW TO USE THESE RULES


INTRODUCTION

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) is a cluster of eight adjudicative tribunals with a mandate to resolve applications and appeals under statutes relating to child and family services oversight, youth justice, human rights, residential tenancies, disability support and other social assistance, special education and victim compensation.

The SJTO is committed to providing quality dispute resolution across the cluster including ensuring that its procedures are transparent and understandable. Identifying common procedures and values across the SJTO and, where appropriate, harmonizing those procedures improves access to justice and fosters consistency in the application of fundamental principles of fairness.

These Common Rules are grounded in the core adjudicative values and principles of the SJTO which govern the work of the cluster. The Common Rules provide a consistent overarching framework of common procedures that will continue to evolve.

HOW TO USE THESE RULES

  1. The SJTO Common Rules apply to all cases in any SJTO tribunal and form part of the rules and procedures of each tribunal.
  2. For more specific rules please refer to the rules and procedures of:

PART A - ADJUDICATIVE VALUES AND INTERPRETIVE PRINCIPLES

A1 APPLICATION

The Common Rules apply to the proceedings of the SJTO. The Common Rules form part of the rules of each SJTO tribunal.

A2 DEFINITIONS

"rules and procedures" includes rules, practice directions, policies, guidelines and procedural directions;

"tribunal" means any SJTO tribunal or board.

A3 INTERPRETATION
A3.1

The rules and procedures of the tribunal shall be liberally and purposively interpreted and applied to:

  1. promote the fair, just and expeditious resolution of disputes,
  2. allow parties to participate effectively in the process, whether or not they have a representative,
  3. ensure that procedures, orders and directions are proportionate to the importance and complexity of the issues in the proceeding.
A3.2

Rules and procedures are not to be interpreted in a technical manner.

A3.3

Rules and procedures will be interpreted and applied in a manner consistent with the Human Rights Code.

A4 TRIBUNAL POWERS
A4.1

The tribunal may exercise any of its powers at the request of a party, or on its own initiative, except where otherwise provided.

A4.2

The tribunal may vary or waive the application of any rule or procedure, on its own initiative or on the request of a party, except where to do so is prohibited by legislation or a specific rule.

A5 ACCOMMODATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS CODE-RELATED NEEDS
A5.1

A party, representative, witness or support person is entitled to accommodation of Human Rights Code-related needs by the tribunal and should notify the tribunal as soon as possible if accommodation is required.

A6 LANGUAGE
A6.1

Individuals may provide written materials to the tribunal in either English or French.

A6.2

Individuals may participate in tribunal proceedings in English, French, American Sign Language (ASL) or Quebec Sign Language (QSL).

A6.3

A person appearing before the tribunal may use an interpreter. Interpretation services will be provided, upon request, in accordance with tribunal policy.

A7 COURTESY AND RESPECT
A7.1

All persons participating in proceedings before or communicating with the tribunal must act in good faith and in a manner that is courteous and respectful of the tribunal and other participants in the proceeding.

A8 ABUSE OF PROCESS
A8.1

The tribunal may make such orders or give such directions in proceedings before it as it considers proper to prevent abuse of its processes.

A8.2

Where the tribunal finds that a person has persistently instituted vexatious proceedings or conducted a proceeding in a vexatious manner, the tribunal may find that person to be a vexatious litigant and dismiss the proceeding as an abuse of process for that reason. It may also require a person found to be a vexatious litigant to obtain permission from the tribunal to commence further proceedings or take further steps in a proceeding.

A9 REPRESENTATIVES
A9.1

Parties may be self-represented, represented by a person licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada or by an unlicensed person where permitted by the Law Society Act and its regulations and by-laws.

A9.2

Individuals representing a party before a tribunal have duties to both the tribunal and the party they are representing. Representatives must provide contact information to the tribunal and be available to be contacted promptly. Representatives are responsible for conveying tribunal communications and directions to their client. Representatives should be familiar with tribunal rules and procedures, communicate the tribunal's expectations to their client, and provide timely responses to the other parties and the tribunal.

A9.3

Where a representative begins or ceases to act for a client, the representative must immediately advise the tribunal and the other parties in writing, and provide up-to-date contact information for the party and any new representative. Where a representative ceases to act for a client the tribunal may issue directions to ensure fairness to all parties and to prevent undue delay of proceedings.

A9.4

The tribunal may disqualify a representative from appearing before it where the representative's continued appearance would lead to an abuse of process.

A10 LITIGATION GUARDIANS
A10.1

This Rule applies where a person seeks to be a litigation guardian for a party. It does not apply where no litigation guardian is required as a result of the nature of the proceeding.

A10.2

Persons are presumed to have the mental capacity to manage and conduct their case and to appoint and instruct a representative.

Litigation Guardian Declarations
A10.3

A litigation guardian for a minor under the age of 18 is required to file a signed declaration in the form designated by the tribunal, confirming:

  1. the litigation guardian's consent to serve in this role;
  2. the minor's date of birth;
  3. the nature of the relationship to the minor;
  4. that any other person with custody or legal guardianship of the minor has been provided with a copy of the materials in the proceeding and a copy of the SJTO practice direction on litigation guardians;
  5. that the litigation guardian has no interest that conflicts with those of the person represented;
  6. an undertaking to act in accordance with the responsibilities of a litigation guardian as set out in Rule A10.8; and
  7. that the litigation guardian is at least 18 years of age and understands the nature of the proceeding.
A10.4

A litigation guardian for a person who lacks mental capacity to participate in the tribunal proceeding must file a signed declaration in the form designated by the tribunal, confirming:

  1. the litigation guardian's consent to serve in this role;
  2. the nature of the litigation guardian's relationship to the person represented;
  3. reasons for believing that the person is not mentally incapable of participating in the proceeding;
  4. the nature and extent of the disability causing the mental incapacity;
  5. that no other person has authority to be the person's litigation guardian in the proceeding;
  6. that any person who holds power of attorney or guardianship for the person for other matters has been provided with a copy of the materials in the proceeding and a copy of the SJTO practice direction on litigation guardians;
  7. that the litigation guardian has no interest that conflicts with the interests of the person represented;
  8. an undertaking to act in accordance with the responsibilities of a litigation guardian as set out in Rule A10.8; and
  9. that the litigation guardian is at least 18 years of age and understands the nature of the proceeding.
Naming and Removing a Litigation Guardian
A10.5

Upon the filing of a complete declaration as required by this Rule and unless refused or removed by the Tribunal, the person may act as litigation guardian for the party.

A10.6

The Tribunal will review the declaration and may direct submissions by the parties on whether the litigation guardian should be refused pursuant to Rule A10.7.

A10.7

Upon review of the declaration, or at any later time in the proceeding, the Tribunal may refuse or remove a litigation guardian on its own initiative or at the request of any person because:

  1. the litigation guardian has an interest that conflicts with the interests of the person represented;
  2. the appointment conflicts with the substitute decision making authority of another person;
  3. the person has capacity to conduct or continue the proceeding;
  4. the litigation guardian is unable or unwilling to continue in this role;
  5. a more appropriate person seeks to be litigation guardian; or
  6. no litigation guardian is needed to conduct the proceeding.
Responsibilities of Litigation Guardians
A10.8

A litigation guardian shall diligently attend to the interests of the person represented and shall take all steps necessary for the protection of those interests including:

  1. to the extent possible, informing and consulting with the person represented about the proceedings;
  2. considering the impact of the proceeding on the person represented;
  3. deciding whether to retain a representative and providing instructions to the representative; and
  4. assisting in gathering evidence to support the proceeding and putting forward the best possible case to the tribunal.
A10.9

No one may be compensated for serving as a litigation guardian unless provided for by law or a pre-existing agreement.

A10.10

When a minor who was represented by a litigation guardian turns 18, the role of the litigation guardian will automatically end.




Effective as of October 24, 2017
sjto.ca