I) Social Justice Tribunals Ontario Common Rules
II) Child and Family Services Review Board Specific Rules
There are two parts to the Rules of Procedure of the Child and Family Services Review Board. Part I is the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) Common Rules, which also apply in other tribunals within the SJTO. Part II is the Child and Family Services Review Board Specific Rules which apply only within the Child and Family Services Review Board. Both parts should be read together.
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
Rule A1: Application
The Common Rules apply to the proceedings of the SJTO. The Common Rules form part of the rules of each SJTO tribunal.
Rule A2: Definitions
"rules and procedures" includes rules, practice directions, policies, guidelines and procedural directions;
"tribunal" means any SJTO tribunal or board.
Rule A3: Interpretation
A3.1 The rules and procedures of the tribunal shall be liberally and purposively interpreted and applied to:
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.
Rule 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.
Rule A5: Accommodation of Human Rights Code-Related Needs
A5.1 Parties, representatives and witnesses are 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.
Rule 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.
Rule 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.
Rule 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.
Rule A9: Representatives
A9.1 Parties may be self-represented, represented by a person licensed by the Law Society of Ontario 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.
Rule A10: Litigation Guardians
A10.1 This Rule applies where a person seeks to be named by the tribunal as 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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
Part I: General Rules
1.1 These Rules are made pursuant to section 25.1 of the SPPA and O.Reg.494/06.
1.2 These Rules apply to applications made under the CYFSA, 2017 for:
1.3 These Rules also apply to an appeal of a school board expulsion decision under the Education Act.
1.4 These Rules apply to all proceedings before the CFSRB unless a specific rule provides otherwise. Because of its expedited nature, Rules 2.1, 5.2 and 6.1 do not apply to an ESTA proceeding.
1.5 Members of the CFSRB, sitting alone or in a panel of up to 3 members, may exercise the powers provided under the CYFSA, 2017, the Education Act and Regulations in accordance with these Rules.
1.6 The CFSRB controls its own processes and may issue practice directions as it sees fit.
1.7 These Rules may be amended by the CFSRB from time to time.
2.1 Where a rule or an order of the CFSRB refers to a period of time, it will be calculated as follows:
Filing of Documents
3.1 Documents, including an application or an appeal, may be filed in person, by mail, fax or email.
3.2 The CFSRB may consider a request to extend the time for filing any document where there are exceptional circumstances. A request to extend time must provide reasons for the request.
3.3 Copies of all documents filed with the CFSRB which relate to an appeal or application will be shared with the parties to the application or appeal.
Delivery of Documents
4.1 Documents may be delivered:
4.2 A document is considered delivered:
5.1 A motion may be made by a party to the proceeding or by a person with an interest in the proceeding.
5.2 A motion must be filed as soon as possible, but no later than two days before the hearing. The motion must be delivered to all parties before being filed with the CFSRB.
5.3 A motion may be made at the beginning of the hearing with an explanation for why it was not made prior to the hearing.
5.4 The motion may be brought in any form, but it must adequately set out the facts and the grounds relevant to the motion and the relief requested.
5.5 The CFSRB may direct the procedure for dealing with a motion and set time limits. The CFSRB may direct that the motion will be dealt with in writing or by any other means.
6.1 Unless otherwise decided at a pre-hearing, any evidence a party wishes to submit during the hearing must be disclosed to the parties and the CFSRB no later than 10 days prior to the hearing. A party that does not provide evidence as required by the Rules may not use the evidence at the hearing unless allowed by the CFSRB.
6.2 Where it considers appropriate at any stage of a proceeding, the CFSRB may order a party to disclose documents, witness statements, reports of expert witnesses, or to provide further particulars and may issue directions respecting the use of personal information contained in the documents disclosed.
7.1 The purpose of a pre-hearing is to:
7.2 At the conclusion of a pre-hearing, the member of the CFSRB who conducts the pre-hearing may make such orders as are considered necessary or advisable with respect to the conduct of the proceeding.
7.3 Any rulings made at a pre-hearing shall be recorded in writing in the Pre-Hearing Report, which becomes part of the record.
7.4 Evidence or argument heard at a pre-hearing is not considered part of the hearing unless it is recorded in the Pre-Hearing Report.
8.1 The CFSRB may conduct hearings orally, in writing, or electronically by teleconference or video-conference. In deciding the format of a hearing, the CFSRB will consider:
8.2 The CFSRB may conduct a combination of written, oral or electronic hearings in a proceeding.
Hearings Conducted in Private
9.1 Due to the nature of the proceedings, hearings and pre-hearings are to be held in private.
9.2 A party or a member of the public may bring a motion to have a hearing held in public. The CFSRB will not consider a request to hold an ESTA hearing in public.
9.3 Subject to an order of the Court or the CFSRB, parties and their representatives shall not use documents or information obtained under these Rules or in the course of the CFSRB's proceeding for any purpose other than the proceeding before the CFSRB.
9.4 All CFSRB decisions are subject to a confidentiality order and may also contain information subject to section 87(8) of the CYFSA, 2017. The CFSRB publishes a redacted version of its decisions. No one shall circulate, reproduce, communicate or publish any information contained in or obtained from an unredacted decision of the CFSRB without first obtaining an order of the CFSRB or the Court.
Implementation of Orders
10.1 The CFSRB may, in appropriate cases, remain seized over the implementation of its orders.
Notice of Constitutional Question
11.1 A party who wants to challenge the constitutional validity, applicability or operability of a legislative provision must complete a notice of constitutional question which includes:
11.2 The party must deliver a copy of the notice to the parties and to the Attorneys General of Canada and Ontario at least 15 days before the question is to be argued.
11.3 The party must file the original notice with the CFSRB, together with a written statement of how and when notice was delivered to the parties and to the Attorneys General, at least 15 days before the question is to be argued.
Withdrawal of Application
12.1 An application, other than an ESTA, may be withdrawn by providing written notice to the CFSRB using Form 9.
Part II: Application for Review of a Proposed Removal of a Child in Extended Society Care from a Foster Home under Section 109 of the CYFSA, 2017
13.1 The parties to the application are:
14.1 The Application about the Proposed Removal of a Child from a Foster Home must be filed with the CFSRB using Form 1 within 10 days after receiving notice of the proposed removal from the society.
14.2 The CFSRB will send the application to:
15.1 To be eligible for review:
15.2 Within 7 days of receipt of the application, the CFSRB will determine whether the application is eligible for review and will provide its eligibility decision to the parties. Where the CFSRB finds the application is not eligible for review, it will provide written reasons for its decision.
15.3 If the application is eligible for review, the CFSRB will send the decision to the parties together with a Notice of Hearing which will provide the date, time and location of the hearing.
15.4 The decision on eligibility is considered received:
16.1 The CFSRB must hold a hearing within 20 days of the day the applicant is considered to have received the eligibility decision.
16.2 The CFSRB must decide what action is in the best interests of the child and, based on its determination, either confirm the proposal to remove the child or direct the society not to carry out the proposed removal.
16.3 At the hearing, the society will present its case first.
17.1 The CFSRB will issue its decision in writing, including its reasons, within 10 days of completing the hearing.
Part III: Application for Review or Hearing of a Complaint against a Children's Aid Society under Sections 119 and 120 of the CYFSA, 2017
18.1 The parties to the application are:
19.1 The Application about Complaints against a Children's Aid Society must be filed with the CFSRB using Form 2.
19.2 An application for review of a final decision of an ICRP will not be considered complete unless the ICRP decision is attached.
19.3 The CFSRB will send the application to the society.
20.1 The application must contain relevant details in support of allegations that the society:
20.2 Within 7 days of receiving a complete application, the CFSRB will determine whether it is eligible for review and will advise the parties.
20.3 Where the CFSRB finds the application is not eligible for review, it will provide written reasons.
21.1 The society must deliver its response to the applicant and file it with the CFSRB within 10 days of being advised the application is eligible for review. The response must include:
21.2 Where the society takes the position that the CFSRB cannot conduct a review because the subject of the application is:
the society must provide submissions in support of its position and attach all relevant documents and any Court orders to the response.
Written Review or Notice of Hearing
22.1 Within 20 days of determining eligibility, the CFSRB will:
23.1 The CFSRB will hold a pre-hearing in every application proceeding to a hearing and may exercise its discretion to hold more than one pre-hearing.
23.2 The first pre-hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible and, in any event, no later than 40 days after determining eligibility.
23.3 A pre-hearing may be held electronically unless a party satisfies the CFSRB that proceeding electronically would cause significant prejudice.
23.4 A member conducting a pre-hearing may give directions to the parties to assist the just and expeditious disposition of the application.
23.5 In addition to the parties and their representatives, a member may permit the following persons to attend a pre-hearing:
23.6 At a pre-hearing, the parties may consider settlement of some or all of the issues in dispute.
23.7 If the parties are not prepared to consider settlement or are unable to settle, the pre-hearing will proceed and the member will assist the parties to prepare for the hearing.
23.8 No later than 10 days after the pre-hearing or the final pre-hearing, the CFSRB will issue its Pre-Hearing Report which will:
23.9 The member who conducted a pre-hearing where settlement was discussed will not conduct the hearing, unless the parties consent in writing.
24.1 The hearing will begin within 60 days of determining eligibility.
24.2 The hearing may proceed in person, by telephone or other form of electronic technology, in writing or by any combination of those forms the CFSRB considers appropriate, unless a party satisfies the CFSRB that there is good reason not to proceed in writing or that proceeding by telephone or other electronic technology will cause significant prejudice.
24.3 In addition to the parties and their representatives, the CFSRB may permit the following persons to attend the hearing:
24.4 In order to provide for the just and expeditious disposition of the application, at the hearing the CFSRB may exercise its discretion to:
24.5 The society may ask the CFSRB to dismiss the application or to confirm the society's decision following completion of the ICRP process.
24.6 The applicant may ask the CFSRB to order the society to:
24.7 On an application to review a final decision of an ICRP, the applicant may also ask the CFSRB to direct the society to conduct a further review or order the society to attach a notice of disagreement to the applicant's file.
25.1 The CFSRB will provide the parties with its written reasons for decision within 30 days of completing the hearing.
Part IV: Application for Review of a Decision to Refuse to Place a Child for Adoption or a Decision to Remove a Child after Placement for Adoption under Section 192 of the CYFSA, 2017
26.1 The parties to the application are:
27.1 The Application for Review of an Adoption Refusal must be filed with the CFSRB using Form 3 within 10 days after receiving notice of the decision to refuse to place a child or of the decision to remove a child after placement.
27.2 The CFSRB will send the application to:
28.1 To be eligible for review, the application must be filed by the person or persons to whom the notice of the society's or licensee's decision was addressed.
28.2 Within 7 days of receipt of the application, the CFSRB will determine whether the application is eligible for review and will provide its eligibility decision to the parties. Where the CFSRB finds the application is not eligible for review, it will provide written reasons for its decision.
28.3 If the application is eligible for review, the CFSRB will send the decision to the parties together with a Notice of Hearing which will provide the date, time and location of the hearing.
28.4 The eligibility decision is considered received:
29.1 The CFSRB will hold a hearing within 20 days of the day the applicant is considered to have received the eligibility decision.
29.2 The CFSRB must decide what action is in the best interests of the child and, based on its determination, either confirm or rescind the decision under review.
29.3 At the hearing, the society or licensee will present its case first.
30.1 The CFSRB will issue its decision, including its reasons, within 10 days of completing the hearing.
Part V: Appeal of School Board Expulsion Decision under Section 311.7 of the Education Act
31.1 For the purposes of calculating the time to appeal an expulsion decision and for delivering documents in an appeal, "holiday" also includes any school holiday.
32.1 The following persons may appeal an expulsion decision:
32.2 The parties to the appeal are:
33.1 The Appeal of a School Board Expulsion Decision must be filed with the CFSRB using Form 4 and within 30 days after receiving notice of the expulsion decision. The appeal must attach the expulsion decision and the response to the principal's report recommending expulsion, if any.
33.2 Notice of the expulsion decision is considered received by the appellant:
33.3 The CFSRB may extend the time for filing the appeal, before or after the expiry of the 30 day period, if satisfied there are reasonable grounds for the extension.
33.4 The CFSRB will send the appeal to the responding school board. The school board must file the principal's report recommending expulsion with the CFSRB as soon as possible and, in any event, within 2 days of receiving the appeal.
34.1 The hearing will begin no later than 30 days after the CFSRB receives the appeal.
34.2 The CFSRB may consider a party's request that the hearing begin after the 30 day period.
34.3 The appeal is a new hearing. The CFSRB must decide whether to:
In making this decision, the CFSRB will consider mitigating and other factors.
34.4 At the hearing, the school board will present its case first.
34.5 The pupil has the right to be present at the hearing and to make a statement, whether or not the pupil is a party to the appeal.
35.1 The CFSRB will provide each party and their representatives with its decision within 10 days of completing the hearing.
35.2 The CFSRB will provide each party and their representatives with written reasons for its decision within 30 days of completing the hearing.
Part VI: Application for Review of an Emergency Admission to a Secure Treatment Program under Section 171 of the CYFSA, 2017 (ESTA)
36.1 Any person, including the child, may apply to the CFSRB for a review of an emergency admission to a secure treatment program.
36.2 The parties to the application are:
37.1 The Application for Review of Emergency Admission to Secure Treatment Program must be filed using Form 5.
37.2 The application must be delivered to the Centre and filed with the CFSRB by courier, email or fax.
37.3 Where the child is less than 12 years old, the Centre, as soon as informed of the application, must provide the CFSRB with a copy of the Minister's consent to the child's admission.
Notice and Scheduling
38.1 The Centre must make all reasonable efforts to send a copy of the application by same day or overnight courier, email or by fax to the parent of the child, the person who is caring for the child with the parent's consent, or the society that has legal care or custody of the child.
38.2 Where the applicant is not the child, the CFSRB shall immediately notify the Office of the Children's Lawyer.
38.3 The CFSRB must hear and decide the application within 5 days of receiving the application.
38.4 On receipt of the application, the Centre will inform the CFSRB of its psychiatrist's availability to testify and the CFSRB will take this information into account when scheduling the hearing.
39.1 Withdrawal of an ESTA application must be completed using Form 6.
40.1 Parties must disclose any documents and a list of their proposed witnesses to all parties and file them with the CFSRB no later than 2:00 p.m. the day before the hearing.
41.1 The CFSRB must hold an oral hearing unless the child consents to an order remaining in the secure treatment program. The CFSRB may require oral evidence when this consent has been given.
41.2 The child is entitled to be present at the hearing unless:
41.3 The CFSRB may require a child who has consented to a hearing proceeding in his or her absence to be present at all or part of the hearing.
41.4 Two persons from the secure treatment program, including the individual instructing counsel, may be present throughout the hearing.
41.5 The Centre will present its evidence first.
42.1 The CFSRB will decide the application within 5 days of receiving it. The CFSRB will provide written reasons for its decision within 10 days of its order disposing of the application.
42.2 The child will be released from the secure treatment program unless the CFSRB is satisfied he or she meets the criteria for emergency admission in the CYFSA, 2017.
Part VII: Application for Review of a Residential Placement under Section 66 of the CYFSA, 2017
43.1 The parties to the application are:
44.1 Any child may apply for a review of his or her residential placement if the placement has been reviewed by the Residential Placement Advisory Committee (RPAC).
44.2 An application for a review may be made when:
44.3 The Application for Review of a Residential Placement must be filed with the CFSRB using Form 7.
44.4 The CFSRB will send the application to the other parties. With the consent of the applicant, notice of the application will be sent to the office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.
45.1 Within 7 days of receiving the application the society, where it is the respondent, must deliver its response to the CFSRB and the other parties. The response must include:
46.1 The CFSRB will tell the applicant if a hearing will be scheduled within 10 days of receiving the application.
46.2 If a hearing is scheduled, the parties must disclose any documents and a list of their proposed witnesses to all parties and file them with the CFSRB no later than 10 days before the hearing.
47.1 The CFSRB must complete its review and make a decision within 30 days of receiving the application. This time may be extended where a hearing is held and the parties consent to the extension.
47.2 The CFSRB may:
48.1 An applicant may withdraw the application. The CFSRB will confirm the withdrawal in writing to the applicant and the other parties.