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Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA)
(01 January 2015)

Chapter 13 - Tribunal Rule-Making Authority:
Pre-Hearing Conferences


  1. General
  2. Issues at Pre-Hearing Conference
  3. Non-SPPA Pre-Hearing Participation Provisions Prevail
  4. Pre-Hearing Conference Tribunal Member at Hearing
  5. Electronic Hearings
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1. General

Under the Statutory Powers Procedures Act [SPPA s.25.1] a tribunal has authority to make rules regarding pre-hearing conferences for the purpose of settling the matter [SPPA s.5.3(1)].


2. Issues at Pre-Hearing Conference

If a tribunal makes s.25.1 rules regarding pre-hearing conferences, the tribunal may direct the parties to consider the following at the pre-hearing conference [SPPA s.5.3(1)]:
  • agreeing on facts or evidence,

  • simplification or settlement of some or all of the issues,

  • estimated duration of the hearing,

  • scheduling steps of the proceeding, and

  • "any other matter that may assist in the just and most expeditious disposition of the proceeding."
Where a tribunal member presides at a pre-hearing conference they may make necessary or advisable procedural orders, including adding parties [SPPA s.5.3(3)].


3. Non-SPPA Pre-Hearing Participation Provisions Prevail

Any other statute or regulation relating to the tribunal's power to direct participation in a pre-hearing conference applies despite any s.25.1-made rules [SPPA s.5.3(1.1)].


4. Pre-Hearing Conference Tribunal Member at Hearing

Anyone appointed by the Tribunal may preside at a pre-hearing conference, including tribunal members - although tribunal members who presided where the parties tried to settle issues may not subsequently hear the matter unless the parties so consent [SPPA s.5.3(2)(4)].

Anyone appointed to conduct a pre-hearing conference where settlement is attempted may not subsequently be compelled to testify or produce documents with respect to matters that came to their knowledge in the course of such settlement efforts. The prohibition on such compulsion applies both to the proceeding to which the pre-hearing conference applies, and to any other administrative or civil court proceedinga [SPPA s.4.8(2), 4.9(1)]. Similarly, no notes or records kept by such a person are admissible in any administrative or civil court proceeding [SPPA s.4.9(2)] [see also the discussion in Ch.6, s.7: "Evidence: Settlement Privilege"].


5. Electronic Hearings

Pre-hearing conferences may be held electronically (typically by telephone) under the rules which govern electronic hearings, with necessary modifications [SPPA s.5.3(5) and s.5.2] (see Ch.4: "Hearings").

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