FAQ – Oral Hearings
Yes, unless you will be relying solely on the documents and your own presentation at the hearing. It is up to each party to decide whether or not to ask other people to come to the hearing to testify as a witness. If you intend to call someone as a witness, you should approach the person(s) you want as witnesses as early as possible to ensure the person is able to attend the hearing on the scheduled date.
Yes. There is no “ownership” in a witness. However, the appellant should first ask the respondent whether that employee will be called as a witness for the respondent at the hearing. If the person is going to be a witness for the respondent, the other parties will have an opportunity to ask the employee questions at the hearing as well.
If a witness refuses to attend the hearing voluntarily, a party may contact the Board to apply for an order to compel a witness to attend to give evidence at the hearing or to produce a document. The party who wants to compel a witness to attend is responsible for applying for the order from the Board, serving it on the witness and providing the witness with reasonable estimated travel expenses in advance of their required attendance. If the witness believes that they have no evidence to offer that is relevant to the appeal or the date or time of the hearing is a hardship for them, they may ask the Board to cancel or vary the order.
Experts are the only witnesses who are allowed to testify about their opinions. This can include professionals or specialists who have knowledge and experience in fields that are outside the knowledge and comprehension of ordinary people. There are special rules and deadlines for expert witnesses. If you anticipate calling an expert witness, you should notify the Board office well in advance of the oral hearing to discuss what needs to be done. Usually a party who wants to submit expert evidence must deliver a report stating the expert’s qualifications and evidence at least 30 days before the hearing. Unless the other parties agree it is not necessary, the expert must be available for questioning at the hearing.
Yes. The Board usually asks each party to provide, prior to the hearing, an outline of their case (called a Statement of Points) and any relevant documents they will be referring to at the hearing. More information about the Statement of Points and disclosure of documents will be sent to the participants by the Board office early in the appeal process.
Yes, the Board may hear and consider new evidence and arguments from the participants that was not presented to the previous decision-maker.
If you want to use an overhead projector, flip chart, VCR or DVD player etc. at a hearing, you should confirm the availability of such items with the hotel or office scheduled for the hearing and make arrangements accordingly. The Board will not pay for the rental of such equipment.
The length of a hearing depends on the complexity of the appeal and the number of witnesses, if any, each party calls to testify. Some hearings take one hour, others take two days. The average length is between ½ a day and one full day. To reduce the length of a hearing, the participants should communicate with each other before the hearing and be well prepared.
Each party has an opportunity to present his or her case to the Board. The appellant usually goes first, followed by the respondent. Each party can testify, and their oral evidence may be supplemented by documents and visual aids (eg. photographs, drawings, etc.). Witnesses, including the parties, will be asked to swear or affirm the truthfulness of their evidence before testifying. Although oral hearings are structured, the Board makes every effort to be flexible and accommodate the needs and experience of the parties. The Board will send the parties a summary information sheet on how to prepare for a hearing and what to expect at a hearing.
Not usually. The Board does not usually arrange for a court reporter to attend and record the proceedings, however, a party may, at their own expense, arrange for a qualified verbatim recorder to record the oral hearing, and they must provide the Board with a copy of any transcript of the hearing that may be ordered by the party.
Yes. You should try to provide everything well in advance of the hearing but you may still provide additional evidence at the hearing itself. However, you are responsible for bringing enough copies for each of the other participants and the Board members, and one copy to be entered as an “exhibit” or evidence (usually 6 copies in total).