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.
The SBT records the oral evidence of a hearing using a digital recorder. Parties are reminded that SBT hearings are held in private and the proceedings are confidential. The recording of the hearing is also confidential.
When served with a Notice of Appeal the SBT will prepare a transcript of the digital recording to be included in the SBT's record of proceeding filed with the Court.
The SBT will not prepare and produce a transcript unless served with a Notice of Appeal.
If a party wishes to record a hearing to supplement his or her notes, he or she must first get the permission of the SBT or the Member who will consider, among other things, the reason for the request, whether recording will disturb or disrupt the hearing and whether self-recording will result in any undue discomfort for any participant.
The Member may impose conditions to protect the fairness and integrity of the hearing and may withdraw permission if those conditions are not met or concerns for the fairness of the hearing arise later. (Gioris v Director, Ontario Disability Support Program,  161 O.A.C. 277; Hayes v Social Benefits Tribunal and Director, Income Maintenance Branch, (6 July 2006), Brampton DC-05-008929-00, Divisional Court.)
Personal recordings do not form part of the SBT's record of proceedings. The recording and any transcription are considered confidential and may not be used for any purpose other than in the proceeding before the SBT.
A party may ask the SBT to provide a court reporter to record the evidence of a hearing according to the process set out in Rule 7.19 of SBT's Rules of Procedure. The SBT will only grant such requests in the rarest of cases.
A party may also ask the SBT for permission to retain a court reporter at the party's expense. Where a party has received permission the SBT will not pay for any transcript. If a party orders a transcript a copy must be provided to the SBT and will be included in the record of proceeding.
Any party to the hearing may request a copy of the digital recording provided the party agrees to respect the confidentiality of the recording. The request should be made to the Registrar and must be made within one year from the date the final decision or decision on reconsideration is issued.
The fee for a copy of the recording is $5.00 which must be paid before the copy is released to the party. The $5.00 is to be paid by cheque or money order payable to the "Minister of Finance". The Registrar may waive payment of the fee if satisfied it would cause financial hardship.