Frequently Asked Questions
There is no charge for mediation at the OSET.
If mediation resolves all the issues of the appeal the parents can withdraw the appeal or the parties can request that the OSET issue a consent order.
If some matters are resolved, they are withdrawn from the appeal. The list of resolved issues can be tabled with the OSET as a settlement agreement or an agreed-upon statement of facts if a hearing goes ahead. Under these circumstances, the agreement may be attached to the OSET’s decision.
If mediation fails to resolve all the issues, the appeal proceeds to a pre-hearing conference.
OSET hearings can be conducted in English, French or bilingually. If you filed an appeal in French, a bilingual member will be assigned to your hearing. If you filed in English but would prefer to continue in French please tell the OSET as soon as possible.
The OSET can provide interpreters for other languages including sign language. If you need an interpreter, please contact us. Make your request for an interpreter to the OSET as soon as possible and well in advance of your hearing or pre-hearing conference.
Please note that all correspondence submitted to the OSET must be in English or French. The OSET does not provide translation services. This includes translating correspondence from French to English and vice versa.
Hearings are typically held in one of SJTO’s regional hearing centres but may also be held in a hotel or other public location such as a library. The OSET ensures that the location is accessible to persons with disabilities.
There is no fee for filing an appeal but there may be other expenses like photocopying, legal fees, and fees to pay witnesses for attending. You may need to take time off work to attend the hearing.
The panel does not evaluate the procedures of the IPRC, SEAB, and the board. The OSET's role is to conduct a new hearing based on all the relevant evidence.
The hearing lasts as long as it takes to hear all the evidence, usually from 1-5 days. The hearing will usually start in the morning, break for lunch, and continue all afternoon.
You do not need a lawyer to appeal to the OSET. For more detailed information about lawyers and representation see the SJTO Practice Direction on Representation. If you would like a lawyer or paralegal to help with your case, visit Getting Legal Help.
If parties realize that they left out some information on their Form A or Form B, or if some of the information has changed, they should notify the OSET as soon as possible. The OSET will notify the hearing panel members and the other party.
Either party can call an expert witness to give a professional opinion on some aspect of the issues under appeal. An expert witness is someone who is trained or has technical expertise in a particular field of knowledge. When parties call expert witnesses they must:
- ensure that the witness’ report, a summary of his/her evidence, and the witness’ resume or summary of qualifications, are provided to the panel and the other party before the hearing
- indicate the witness’s specific recognized area of expertise
- ask questions that are within the witness’s area of expertise
The other party may agree or object to accepting the witness as an expert. The panel ill decide whether to accept the witness as an expert.
The number of witnesses called in a day depends on how long each witness’s testimony is expected to last. Each party determines the number of witnesses it calls in a given day.
Students generally do not attend OSET hearings.
However, it may be appropriate for the student to attend the hearing if the parent or the board requests it. The age, maturity and the intellectual, emotional, and physical capabilities of the student should be considered.
Before the hearing, the parties should discuss with the panel chair:
- whether the student will be present for part or all of the hearing
- the purpose of the student attending
- how the student will participate
A student who is 16 years or older can decide whether to attend the hearing and/or appear as a witness without parental approval. For more information see: Info Sheet: Role of the Student
Once the hearing ends, the panel meets to review the evidence presented during the hearing and applicable law. Only panel members who heard all the evidence will make the decision.
In deciding the appropriate placement for a student, the panel will consider the student’s needs and the programs and services available.
The OSET can make orders about the special education identification and/or placement of a student from the categories and options set out in the legislation:
- Identification: The five categories and definitions of exceptionalities as listed on pages 32-34 (Appendix D) in the Standards for School Boards’ Special Education Plans
- Placement: The range of placement options in which exceptional students are provided with a special education program is included in your child's school board’s Special Education Plan
The OSET cannot order a board to provide medical or therapeutic services such as Intensive Behaviour Intervention (IBI) for a student.
A decision or a consent order issued by the OSET can be filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Once filed, the decision or consent order becomes enforceable by the court.
The Ministry of Education has compiled information and resources about special education for parents on its website.
For answers to other common questions, read the Appeal and Hearing Process.