To continue improving its processes, the Assessment Review Board is proposing a number of changes to its Rules and some of its practices, outlined in this memo. The proposed Rules will be posted for review on our website on July 8, 2019.
Further to the Board’s memo dated July 3, 2019, please see below for clarification to changes at the Assessment Review Board.
Any appeal from a previous cycle that does not have a current cycle appeal (2017-2020) will be set to a new expedited Schedule of Events timeline, even if the appeal has been assigned a Commencement Date.
Properties affected by this proposed change are in the General Stream. Any property appeal currently active will be removed from any existing Schedule of Events regardless where the appeal is in the Schedule and will have a new Commencement Date set with new timelines. The Board is proposing an 18 week schedule up to the filing of evidence. Following the Mandatory Meeting, a Case Conference (formerly called a Settlement Conference) will be scheduled and, if required, a hearing event held to resolve the appeals.
All appeals will be scheduled together regardless of whether the appeals were in the last cycle or earlier. There are currently 646 properties, 1,829 appeals in the General stream that are affected by this proposal.
There will be an expedited process for dismissal of appeals for non-compliance with the Schedule of Events.
Currently on the Board’s website, there is a Request to Dismiss a General Proceedings form for non-compliance with Statement of Issues. The Board is proposing that a request to dismiss an appeal can be filed with the Board at any time within the lifespan of an appeal. This will include any non-compliance of the Schedule of Events including any non-compliance of the Rules of Practice.
The Board continues to expect the parties to work cooperatively if there are any adjustments to the timelines up to the Mandatory Meeting date.
Every appeal will be assigned a “hearing event month.” If a hearing becomes necessary, it will be scheduled to take place during this month.
All appeals that are currently active with the Board, and that have been assigned a Commencement Date, will have a “hearing month” assigned. A “hearing month” will inform the parties what month the Board expects that a hearing, if required, would be scheduled. There will be no specific date provided, only the month that the hearing is anticipated to be held. This month will be assigned 16to 24 weeks after the evidence due date in the Schedule of Events, unless there is a reason to schedule it earlier.
The Board expects that this proposal will assist the parties in organizing their appeal work by anticipating what window of time a hearing will be scheduled, if so required.
All hearing events before the Board will be scheduled as an electronic hearing unless there is prejudice as per section 5.2(2) of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act and the Board’s Rules.
In both the Summary and General Stream, Case Conferences and Hearings will be set to an electronic hearing format as a default effective as of the implementation date. If there is a reason why the hearing should be held in-person, the Board will review any requests via the Expedited Board Direction form. Motions will continue to be dealt with in writing.
Schedule of Events – General Stream Appeals will be reduced from 66-104 weeks to 40 weeks. This change will affect Commencement Dates on or after October 15, 2019.
As per the memo dated July 3, 2019, the Board is taking this opportunity to consider changes to our delivery model and enhance our effectiveness and efficiency.
Reducing the Schedule of Events timelines would still allow sufficient time to work on resolving the appeal and have settlement meetings if required. The Board must ensure that all active appeals continue to be resolved, in a timely manner that is reasonable. The Board will continue to consider requests to extend time via Expedited Board Direction form. Motions will continue to be dealt with in writing.
The Board continues to expect parties to work together to move towards resolution.
The terms “Mediation” and “Settlement Conference” will be replaced with the term “Case Conference” in the Board’s Rules.
All references in the Board’s Rules of Practice and Procedure and guidance documents will replace the term “Settlement Conference” with the term “Case Conference”. This term is being used to make it more consistent with terms used in other tribunals and boards within Tribunals Ontario. There is no substantive or procedural change intended from this proposal. As with Settlement Conferences, if the appeals are not resolved, a hearing event will be scheduled.
Schedule of Events – Summary Stream Appeals will be updated to allow for a staggered approach to disclosing issues, and the term “disclosure” will be changed to reflect “description of issues.”
The Board has maintained the original timing of 14 weeks for the Schedule of Events for the Summary Stream. However, upon the assignment of the Commencement Date, the person filing the appeal must provide a “description of the issues” to all parties immediately, and during weeks one to four, any party responding or disputing the description of issues will serve the response on all parties, before the filing of the mandatory meeting form. The Board continues to expect parties to work together to move towards resolution.
Rule 18(d) will be amended to more specifically require that “grounds” for appealing to the Board are articulated. This amendment not come into effect until the 2021-2024 cycle of appeals.
The Board will be amending its Rules to require the appellant to identify the grounds to file an appeal. In short, the simple statement that an assessment is “too high” will be insufficient. Instead, the appellant will be required to identify the reasons for the appeal such that other parties can have a fulsome understanding of the issues and why they are filing the appeal with the Board
A Practice Direction will be developed in advance of the 2021-2024 assessment cycle.