If an appeal is not resolved, the Board can hold hearings in-person, by telephone conference, by video conference, or through written submissions. For in-person hearings of simple appeals, usually one Board member will be assigned to the panel that will conduct the hearing. For more complex appeals, two or more Board members may be assigned to the panel.
While not as formal as court proceedings, Board hearings are reasonably formal and parties are expected to act appropriately. Parties may represent themselves or have an agent or lawyer represent them. The Board will determine whether or not the hearing will be recorded. Hearings are open to the public.
The Board will notify the parties in writing of the date, time and location of the hearing, typically at the Board’s offices. The Board will, however, consider any party’s request for alternative locations and will consider the cost to the parties to attend the hearing and the cost to the Board to secure a location.
The Panel will determine who will present their case first. Usually the party appealing (the Appellant) proceeds first, starting with a brief opening statement that explains the appeal issues. Following the opening statement, the Appellant will present their evidence, and calling their witnesses, if any. The Appellant is not expected to detail or read all their evidence, as the parties are usually required to submit all documents and written evidence before the hearing. The Panel will review all the materials prior to the hearing and consider all submitted documents in their decision. Once the Appellant and witnesses have presented their evidence, the Respondent (normally the Assessor) will have an opportunity to question the Appellant or any witnesses.
The Respondent proceeds in the same manner as the Appellant, with the Appellant having an opportunity to question the Respondent and their witnesses, if any. The Appellant will also be given an opportunity to respond to any new matters raised in the Respondent’s case.
The Panel may have questions for either party or their witnesses. Both parties will then have an opportunity to summarize their cases.
Following the hearing, the Panel will prepare a written decision with reasons. The Board will send the parties the decision within 60 to 90 days; in rare instances, the decision may be issued beyond 90 days due to appeal volume, the complexity of the appeal and resource issues.
Additional Information for an in-person hearing
People (parties and witnesses) who give evidence at a hearing must swear an oath or affirm that their evidence will be the truth. Oaths and affirmations have the same legal effect. Whether a person swears an oath or affirms to tell the truth, the person is bound by conscience and law to tell the truth.
Present for cross examination:
If a party relies upon appraisal reports or opinion letters, it is always better to have the author present to explain any adjustments and answer questions. Evidence that cannot be tested by cross-examination will generally be less persuasive and given less weight by the decision maker.
Verbal report from an Expert:
If a party intends to present expert opinion evidence without providing a full report in advance, the party must provide a statement of the expert's opinion, together with the facts upon which it is based and the qualifications of the expert. Deadlines for providing an expert report or a statement of the expert’s opinion are set out in the Rules of Practice and Procedure – Evidence.
Introducing new evidence at a hearing:
If a party asks for evidence to be admitted that was not pre-filed, the hearing panel has discretion to refuse or admit this evidence.
If a fact emerges from a witness’ testimony at the hearing that could not have been reasonably foreseen, a party can apply to admit new evidence to respond to or clarify that fact. If the other party objects, the hearing panel will have to decide whether to admit the evidence. The panel will consider and balance the following:
If the panel determines that the prejudice to the other party and the impact on the efficient conduct of the hearing outweighs the interest of the party requesting the evidence be admitted, the panel may decline to admit the new evidence.