Practice Directions support the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) Common Rules of Procedure and provide guidance about what the Tribunal expects of the parties and in turn what the parties can expect of the Tribunal. They assist in understanding and applying the rules.
This Practice Direction discusses the representation of parties before the tribunals and boards of the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario ("tribunals"), including who can represent a party and the obligations of representatives. It relates to Rule A9 of the SJTO Common Rules.
A support person, such as a family member or friend, may attend a hearing or mediation with a party or witness to assist the person in participating in the proceeding, communicating with the Tribunal and making necessary decisions and may sit with the party during the hearing or mediation. Such a support person is not considered a representative, so long as they do not make submissions on the party's behalf.
A party may be self-represented and appear before the Tribunal and present his or her case. The SJTO's rules are interpreted and applied to allow parties to participate effectively in the process, whether or not they are represented by a lawyer or paralegal.
A party may also choose to appoint another person to represent him or her in SJTO proceedings.
The representative may be:
A person who is not licensed, whose license is suspended or who is not in an exempted category will not be permitted to act as a representative in SJTO proceedings.
A licensed representative is a lawyer or paralegal licensed by the LSUC. A licensed representative must be in good standing with the LSUC and must provide his or her license number to the Tribunal.
There are Rules of Conduct for lawyers and for paralegals established by the LSUC.
An unlicensed person may represent a party in proceedings before the SJTO if that person falls within the specific licensing exemptions established by the LSUC.
A person who is not licensed may be asked by the SJTO to identify the LSUC exemption category to which he or she belongs.
The current exemptions permit the following unlicensed persons, among others, to act as a representative:
A complete list of approved exemptions is on the LSUC's website.
A person who is not licensed and who is not exempt from licensing requirements will be not permitted to act as a representative in an SJTO proceeding. This would include:
Where a party is represented, the Tribunal will communicate with the party through its representative.
Representatives must treat all participants and the Tribunal with courtesy and respect. Both licensed and unlicensed representatives are expected to know and follow the Tribunal's rules and procedures and any directions or orders made during the proceeding. Acting on the client's behalf and instructions, a representative is responsible for all communications with the Tribunal and the other parties and for preparing and presenting the client's case to the Tribunal.
The Tribunal may exclude a representative from a hearing where necessary to prevent an abuse of process (for example, because the representative has a conflict of interest) or, in the case of unlicensed representatives, where the Tribunal finds the representative is not competent to properly represent or to advise the party or witness, or does not understand and comply at the hearing with the duties and responsibilities of a representative, Hansen v. Toronto (City), 2010 HRTO 13.
The Tribunal recognizes that limited scope retainers exist. A representative on a limited scope retainer shall ensure the client understands the extent and scope of the services that will be provided and is responsible for advising the tribunal when no longer retained.