Are Social Benefits Tribunal hearings still happening during COVID-19?

For now, the (SBT) is not holding appeal hearings in person or by videoconference.

If your appeal was already scheduled, it will go ahead by telephone. And in limited situations, the SBT will have a written or paper hearing.

If the SBT schedules a written or paper hearing, contact your local community legal clinic. In this type of hearing, the SBT makes its decision based only on paperwork.

For a telephone hearing, you'll get a phone number from the SBT that you'll call from your home. Your , if you have one, will also call in.

If you don’t want a telephone hearing

For some people a telephone hearing might not be possible. For example, you might not have access to a phone with good reception. Or, you might not be able to get privacy in your home because your children or other people are around.

Other examples of why a telephone hearing could be unfair include:

  • you find it hard to express yourself or understand things over the phone because of a disability, or
  • the evidence in your case is complicated.

There could be many reasons why you think a telephone hearing will hurt the chances of you winning your appeal.

How to object

You have the right to object to a telephone hearing. But you must put this in writing and send it the SBT within 15 days of getting your updated Notice of Hearing. You must explain why you would not get a fair hearing.

Because the SBT is not holding hearings in person right now, you need to ask for your hearing to be “adjourned”. This means that it would happen at a later time.

You can send your request for a different hearing to the SBT's Registrar at SBT.Registrar@ontario.ca.

If you need help writing an objection or sending it to the SBT, talk to your community legal clinic.

The SBT is also getting ready to start video hearings. They will start video hearings sometime in 2021.

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