Request a Change to my Hearing Format
Tribunals Ontario is taking a digital-first approach to meeting the needs of Ontarians and enhancing the quality of its dispute resolution services. This means that, except in certain limited circumstances, Tribunals Ontario is holding hearings only by video conference, telephone, or in writing.
The Practice Direction on Hearing Formats outlines Tribunals Ontario’s approach to determining the format of its hearings, and how a party can request a different hearing format.
How to request a different hearing format
Complete an Accommodation Request Form to ask to change your hearing format. Please make the request as soon as possible.
To change your hearing format, you will need to establish that:
- The change is required as an accommodation for a Human Rights Code-related need, such as a disability; and/or
- The current hearing format will result in an unfair hearing.
Please include all relevant information in the Accommodation Request Form. It is your responsibility to establish that your hearing format should be changed.
Requests to change your hearing format, along with what is considered a fair hearing, are decided based on your specific circumstances. The tribunal will balance various factors to decide what is an appropriate and fair hearing format for your case. Some of these factors are outlined in the Practice Direction on Hearing Formats.
You might also want to visit the Request an Accommodation webpage to learn more about how the tribunal can help you participate in your hearing. The tribunal may be able to accommodate you in a way that does not require a change in your hearing format. For example, the tribunal may help you access technology at an access terminal, where you can use a computer or telephone to attend your hearing.
What if I want an in-person hearing?
If you want to change a written or electronic hearing, you will need to establish that an in-person hearing is required to accommodate a Human Rights Code-related need, such as a disability, or that an electronic hearing will likely cause you significant prejudice and result in an unfair hearing.
While you may request an in-person hearing, the hearing format or solution that the tribunal provides may not be an in-person hearing. Before making its decision, the tribunal may also contact any other party in the matter to ask for its views about your request.
The tribunal will work with you to get the information it needs to decide whether the matter will proceed as an in-person proceeding or in a different hearing format.
I want to change my hearing format because I don’t have access to technology (e.g., computer, tablet, telephone) to participate in my electronic hearing or need technical help.
Provide as much detail as possible about your challenges in accessing technology. Please note that you can participate in a videoconference by telephone/smartphone.
Tribunals Ontario provides access terminal services almost anywhere in the province for parties who have technology challenges in participating in an electronic proceeding.
If you do not have access to a telephone, computer and/or internet connection to participate in your proceeding, you can make a request for accommodation to the tribunal. You should make this request as soon as possible and provide as much detail as possible about your challenges in accessing technology.
If the tribunal approves your request to use an access terminal, Tribunals Ontario will identify a suitable alternate venue and coordinate the technical equipment, including a laptop and internet connection, and technical support on the day of your proceeding. If you are not familiar with using a computer or telephone, you can ask to bring a friend or family member to go with you to provide extra help. You can bring up to two extra people. If you need further support, please request this from the tribunal before the proceeding.
For tips on participating in an electronic proceeding, see Videoconferencing Proceedings at Tribunals Ontario.
Tribunals Ontario Phone Program
Tribunals Ontario has a phone program to help you attend your tribunal proceeding by telephone.
If you do not have access to a telephone or have a prepaid or pay as you go plan with limited airtime talk minutes, complete and submit an Accommodation Request Form.
If your request is approved, the tribunal can loan you a basic cell phone so you can call into your hearing by telephone. If you have a prepaid or pay as you go plan with limited airtime talk minutes, the tribunal can provide you with a top-up voucher to give you enough airtime minutes to take part in your hearing by telephone. This program is free and there is no cost to you.