Some of the more important adjudicative agencies, or "tribunals," in the province are highlighted below.
Once all the decision-making levels within the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) have been exhausted, a worker or employer may appeal the WSIB's decision to the WSIAT. In most cases, a worker has six months to file an appeal.
WSIAT hearings have both "inquisitorial" and "adversarial" aspects. An appeal hearing typically lasts a half day.
The LTB is a Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) that decides disputes between residential tenants and landlords. Under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), the Board has jurisdiction over most areas of residential tenancy.
A Small Claims Court will refer plaintiffs to the LTB if a claim involves non-payment of rent, inadequate maintenance, lease disagreements and so on, if the RTA is applicable to the rental unit.
The HRTO adjudicates cases of discrimination or harassment as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code. Human rights law is complex and evolving, and both applicants and respondents are advised to have assistance in a matter.
Orders such as for compensation or work modification made by the HRTO may be reconsidered, in limited circumstances. Decisions are subject to judicial review, but under the Code, the standard of review is patent unreasonableness, which is a very difficult bar to meet.
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) decides cases in industries regulated by the federal government, such as telecommunications and interprovincial transportation.
The OLRB decides appeals to the decisions of Employment Standards Officers (ESOs).
ESOs currently have very large caseloads. As a result, they cannot always adequately investigate employee complaints. Unfortunately, this means that cases are sometimes shifted to the Labour Review Board for adjudication, with long delays for fair outcomes.
The SBT decides Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works (OW) appeals of benefits decisions.
The vast majority of appeals deal with the issue of whether the appellant meets the statutory definition of a person with a disability. Typically, the ODSP office does not send a representative to the hearing, instead relying on written submissions. Hearings usually last only an hour.
The first step (for residential and farm properties) is to file a request for reconsideration (RFR). When an RFR is denied, an appeal is pursued at the ARB.
MPAC has the burden of proving that its assessment is correct, unless the appellant has failed to give MPAC a reasonable opportunity to inspect the property or has not complied with a request for documentation, in which case the burden of proof shifts to the owner of the property.
There are a great many other boards and tribunals where representation by a paralegal may be invaluable:
- Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal (AFRAAT)
- Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGC)
- Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT)
- Consent and Capacity Board (CCB)