Last Updated: March 1, 2024
This page provides information on operational changes at Tribunals Ontario. Tribunals Ontario continues to hold hearings by videoconference, teleconference, and in writing and in-person for accommodation purposes. All in-person service counters are closed.
On this Page
- March 1, 2024 - Tribunals Ontario’s new Hearing Audio Recordings Policy
- October 13, 2023 - Elimination of Interac Online Payment Option
- October 4, 2023 - Tribunals Ontario Statement on the 2022-2023 Tribunals Ontario Annual Report
- April 5, 2023 - Tribunals Ontario Introducing Mobile Access Terminal Service
- October 21, 2022 - Tribunals Ontario Expanding Access to Justice and Enhancing Digital Literacy
Tribunals Ontario’s new Hearing Audio Recordings Policy
March 1, 2024
Tribunals Ontario is launching a new Hearing Audio Recordings Policy (HARP) effective July 1, 2024. The HARP outlines Tribunals Ontario’s approach to audio recordings at its hearings.
Audio recording hearings will better assist tribunals in carrying out their functions and providing quality service. Tribunals Ontario will not audio record any “pre-hearing events” such as case management conferences, mediations, and settlement conferences unless the tribunal orders otherwise.
The Landlord and Tenant Board, Social Benefits Tribunal and Ontario Parole Board have been recording their hearings for many years. After the implementation of HARP, the Animal Care Review Board, Assessment Review Board, Child and Family Services Review Board, Custody Review Board, Fire Safety Commission, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Licence Appeal Tribunal and Ontario Special Education Tribunal will record their hearings as well.
Audio recordings will normally be created using the recording function in Zoom. In case of technical difficulties and unforeseen circumstances the tribunal may proceed with the hearing without recording it. Individuals who wish to make their own audio recording of a hearing must seek the approval of the tribunal.
Please refer to the draft Tribunals Ontario Hearing Audio Recordings Policy for more information.
Elimination of Interac Online Payment Option
October 13, 2023
The Government of Ontario has determined that Interac Online can no longer be accepted as an online payment option for provincial ministries and agencies. Starting November 15, 2023, the Assessment Review Board, the Licence Appeal Tribunal and the Landlord and Tenant Board will no longer accept Interac Online payments. We note that less than one per cent of payments made at Tribunals Ontario are through Interac Online.
Please see alternative payment options below:
Assessment Review Board
Applicants can use e-File to pay online by Visa Credit Card, Visa Debit, Mastercard Credit Card and Debit MasterCard.
Licence Appeal Tribunal
Applicants and appellants can pay by Visa Credit Card, Visa Debit, MasterCard Credit Card and Debit MasterCard.
Those who do not wish to pay online have the option of sending payment via credit card, certified cheque or money order.
Landlord and Tenant Board
Applicants can pay by Visa Credit Card, Visa Debit, MasterCard Credit Card and Debit Mastercard. Applicants who file by mail or courier can pay by credit card, certified cheque or money order.
Tribunals Ontario Statement on the 2022-2023 Tribunals Ontario Annual Report
October 4, 2023
Sean Weir, Executive Chair of Tribunals Ontario, and Harry Gousopoulos, Executive Director of Tribunals Ontario, issued the following statement on the 2022-2023 Tribunals Ontario Annual Report:
“Today, Tribunals Ontario released its 2022-2023 Annual Report – a snapshot of our ongoing modernization, along with various key operational highlights across our constituent tribunals.
We remain focused on enhancing our digital-first model and providing user-friendly services so that we deliver a strong, accessible, and modern administrative justice system for those who come before us. We have implemented action plans that provide us with a clear path to reducing the accumulation of applications at some of our tribunals and launched new initiatives to ensure equitable access to justice.
In 2022-23, we made significant strides in how we deliver public services.
- Completed implementation of the new case management system Tribunals Ontario Portal for the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) in February 2023. This system allows applications to be filed, processed, and scheduled online and encourages greater resolution of disputes before the hearing, with new features that give parties the ability to connect directly with each other, as well as with mediation services
- Worked with the government to recruit, appoint, and reappoint adjudicators. Currently, Tribunals Ontario has more than 160 full-time and more than 234 part-time members, which is the most we’ve ever had as an organization
- Expanded the availability of our access terminals from the original five hearing locations (Toronto, Ottawa, London, Hamilton, and Sudbury) to almost anywhere in the province with our new mobile terminal service. These terminals help ensure that everyone can fully participate in their virtual proceedings, even if they don’t have access to their own computer or the internet
- Developed support resources, including information sheets and YouTube videos, to help ensure users have the digital skills and literacy to be full and active participants in their video hearings
In addition, Tribunals Ontario implemented new Key Performance Indicators and service standards that measure efficiency and effectiveness across all tribunals.
Almost all of our 13 tribunals are meeting or exceeding their services standards. On average, tribunals are meeting their hearing event date scheduling targets 84% of the time or in some cases even better.
Of the four tribunals with historical backlogs, we are pleased to say that the backlog at the Social Benefits Tribunal has been eliminated. The Licence Appeal Tribunal also has made significant inroads in their backlog and we expect that the backlog will be eliminated by the end of the year. We are pleased that users can once again rely on timely and efficient service from these two tribunals.
At the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO), measurable progress is being made to improve service timelines. Over the past six months, we have reduced the active caseload at the HRTO by almost 10% through a variety of measures including active case management and increased mediations and merit hearing, while also streamlining and simplifying operational processes and forms to help users navigate the tribunal’s process. We expect more progress to be made in the coming months.
At the LTB, the active case count continues to be higher than ideal, in part due to a 25% increase in the number of applications received, and the increased proportion of more complex applications that require more time to resolve.
That said, service improvements have been made over the past year. On average, L1 and L9 applications – which comprise approximately 52% of our total applications – are scheduled within five months. This is a 40% improvement from earlier this year when it took around 8-10 months to get to a hearing.
To support backlog reduction, 20 full-time and 16 part-time adjudicators and 1 part-time Vice-Chair have been appointed since May 2023 to the LTB. These appointments bring the Board’s adjudicative complement to 56 full-time and 56 part-time adjudicators. By the end of October, we expect that the number of full-time adjudicators will exceed 65. We are making real progress to fully utilize the resource allocation provided to us by the government.
Over the past two and a half years, the LTB has fundamentally transformed itself from a regional-based model that relied heavily on paper and in-person hearings to a modernized provincial model that conducts hearings virtually and with an application process that is now primarily digital and online. Though this transformational change has caused some disruption and delays, we are confident we now have in place a more modern, efficient, and effective operating model. Moving forward, it will be more convenient for our users and result in the timely resolution of disputes.”
Tribunals Ontario Introducing Mobile Access Terminal Service
April 5, 2023
Tribunals Ontario is enhancing access to justice for parties who have technology-related challenges by expanding the availability of Tribunals Ontario’s access terminal service from the current five hearing locations (Toronto, Hamilton, London, Ottawa and Sudbury) to almost anywhere in the province. Parties with an approved accommodation request because they do not have access to a telephone, computer, and/or the internet to participate in their virtual proceeding may now be accommodated almost anywhere in the province with our mobile access terminal service.
Based on approved accommodation requests, Tribunals Ontario will identify a suitable alternate venue and coordinate the required equipment, including a laptop and internet connection. Technical support will also be provided on the day of the proceeding to help parties with basic technology issues or questions.
Accommodations are arrangements to allow everyone, regardless of their abilities, to effectively participate in the tribunal process.
When making a request for accommodation, parties should provide as much detail as possible so that the tribunal can determine the best manner in which to address an individual’s needs.
Access terminals may be the most appropriate option where technology is an issue (for instance, because a person doesn’t own a computer or have access to the internet). A free phone program is also available to help parties attend their hearings by phone. In those cases, the tribunal will loan free mobile phones or provide airtime minutes to parties that do not have access to a telephone or have a prepaid or pay-as-you-go plan with limited airtime talk minutes.
For those deaf or hard of hearing, the tribunal can provide a sign language interpreter (American Sign Language, langue des signes québécoise), a deaf-blind intervener, real time captioning (CART), as well as other help if needed.
In-person hearings are granted where appropriate and necessary.
Each request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and the tribunal will respond to the parties with its decision.
Tribunals Ontario remains committed to providing fair and equitable access to justice for all who need our services.
- Access terminal hearing centres:
- For mobile access terminals, the specific site will be determined by the tribunal in consultation with the person granted the accommodation.
- A party can bring two additional individuals into the venue for the proceeding. If the party requires further support, they should ask the tribunal before the hearing; such requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
- The Tribunals Ontario Practice Direction on Hearing Formats outlines Tribunals Ontario’s approach to determining the format of the hearing that will be held and how a party can request a different format.
Tribunals Ontario Expanding Access to Justice and Enhancing Digital Literacy
October 21, 2022
Tribunals Ontario is taking action to expand options to access our services and enhance digital literacy resources for users who may not be familiar with using technology so that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, is able to participate fully in tribunal processes.
New access options
New options Tribunals Ontario is introducing to make our tribunals more accessible include:
- Access terminals: Expanding our access terminal service to our Sudbury office, which will enhance access to justice in Northern Ontario. These terminals allow parties who do not have access to a computer, phone or internet to participate in their virtual hearings at one of five locations in the province: Toronto, Hamilton, London, Ottawa and (now) Sudbury. Tribunals Ontario is actively exploring options to further expand coverage across the remainder of the province and is targeting to have a plan in place by the end of the year.
- Free phone program: Facilitating telephone access to hearings by making our free phone pilot at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) a permanent program, and extending it to parties before the Social Benefits Tribunal and Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Our website and tribunal documents will be updated to provide more information about the free phone program so that users are better aware of the options available to them.
- ServiceOntario: Working with partners to expand our LTB services so that more users can file LTB applications and documents in person, with three new ServiceOntario locations now accepting LTB filings.
Digital literacy resources
New digital literacy supports to help ensure users have the digital skills and ability to be full and active participants in their virtual proceedings include:
- New video guides: Launching a series of short, user-friendly video guides that provide technical instructions for using Zoom to participate in a tribunal proceeding, including How to Join a Virtual Proceeding, Basic Zoom Controls in a Virtual Proceeding, and Additional Zoom Controls in a Virtual Proceeding.
- New website resources: Updating our website to consolidate all of our digital literacy resources on our Videoconferencing webpage, including our comprehensive Zoom User Guide and new Tips for Connecting to your Zoom Proceeding.
- Stakeholder and public information sessions: Providing information sessions for the public and stakeholders in September 2022 to answer some of the most common questions from LTB parties using the Tribunals Ontario Portal.
Tribunals Ontario remains committed to access to justice and will continue to explore opportunities to increase access and new tools that will improve digital literacy for all parties participating in virtual proceedings.