Practice Direction on Reconsideration
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the HRTO) has developed the following approach to requests for reconsideration. The procedure outlined below provides general information only. It is not a rule within the meaning of the HRTO’s Rules of Procedure. The HRTO may vary the approach to reconsideration where appropriate.
Decisions of the HRTO are final and are not subject to appeal. However, parties may request that the HRTO reconsider a final decision it has made. Reconsideration is a discretionary remedy; there is no right to have a decision reconsidered by the HRTO. Generally, the HRTO will only reconsider a decision where it finds that there are compelling and extraordinary circumstances for doing so and where these circumstances outweigh the public interest in finality of orders and decisions.
Reconsideration is not an appeal or an opportunity for a party to repair deficiencies in the presentation of its case.
In every case where a request is made to reconsider a decision, the HRTO must decide whether it is advisable to do so in the circumstances. If the HRTO decides it is advisable to grant a request for reconsideration, it must then decide whether the previous decision should be changed and, if so,how it should be changed.
The decision on whether to grant a request for reconsideration is made based on the criteria set out in the Rules and on the facts of each request. Some examples of situations where the HRTO might decide that it is advisable and appropriate to grant a request to have a matter reconsidered are:
- where it appears that the party seeking reconsideration was entitled to but, through no fault of its own, did not receive notice of the original hearing;
- where it appears that there is new evidence that could potentially be determinative of the case and, for reasons beyond the Party's control, the evidence was not obtainable at the time of the Hearing.
- Some examples of situations where the HRTO might decide it is not advisable or it is inappropriate to grant a request for reconsideration are:
- where a party disagrees with and wishes to challenge a finding of fact, including findings made about the credibility of witnesses;
- where a party wishes to repair perceived deficiencies in the presentation of the party's case by either re-arguing it or raising new arguments in support of it.
Determining the Request for Reconsideration
A party who wishes to have a decision reconsidered may submit a request for reconsideration. The requirements for such a request include: reasons for the request, including the basis upon which the HRTO is asked to grant the request; submissions in support of the request; and the remedy or relief sought. A Request for Reconsideration made more than 30 days following the date of the decision will not be granted unless the HRTO determines that the delay was incurred in good faith and no substantial prejudice will result to any person affected by the delay. A request for reconsideration filed more than 30 days after the date of the decision must include all information in support of the request that the reconsideration be accepted late.
Please refer to the Rules of Procedure applicable to your proceeding before the HRTO for specific instructions about seeking reconsideration. A party making a request for reconsideration will also be required to serve the other parties. After a request for reconsideration is filed, the Tribunal will send a letter to the parties if it requires the other party to make submissions. Generally the HRTO will not ask for submissions at this point.
In most cases the member who heard the original matter will be assigned to determine the reconsideration request. The request is then reviewed by the member assigned to see if it raises any matters upon which a decision to reconsider could be based. If it does not, or if it was filed too late, the request may be dismissed without requiring submissions from the other parties. If this happens, the parties are sent a Decision of the HRTO that sets out why it was dismissed.
The HRTO will not grant a request for reconsideration without first providing the parties the opportunity to make submissions.
Except where it is required for the purposes of accommodation, the HRTO generally does not hold an oral hearing in determining whether to grant a request for reconsideration.
Following review of all the submissions the HRTO will issue a decision either dismissing or granting the request for reconsideration. If the circumstances warrant, the HRTO may issue a decision that disposes of both the request for reconsideration and the substance of the reconsideration request.
If the HRTO decides to grant the request for reconsideration, it will do so on the terms it determines are appropriate and will decide the reconsideration on the merits. Depending on the circumstances, the HRTO may direct the parties to file additional written submissions, provide an opportunity for oral submissions or hold a rehearing in whole or in part.
If the reconsideration is granted with respect to only part of a decision, only that part of the decision will be reconsidered.
Where a request for reconsideration has been determined, the HRTO will not consider another request for reconsideration of the same decision, absent exceptional circumstances. The HRTO does not have to give reasons for a decision not to consider a subsequent request.
The HRTO may begin a reconsideration process on its own initiative. In these circumstances, the HRTO will provide the parties with an opportunity to make submissions.
January 2008, last amended March 2010