What can I do if I have a hearing or consultation at the OLRB?

Before you have a hearing or consultation at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB), you must:

  • give your application to the OLRB, which is called “filing” your application,
  • work with a to try to find a solution with your employer, and
  • get a Notice of Consultation or Hearing from the OLRB. This notice tells you where and when your consultation or hearing will happen.

Your role

Consultations are less formal than hearings. At an OLRB consultation, the Vice-Chair makes decisions. Your job is to answer the Vice-Chair's questions about what happened.

At a hearing, you have a bigger role. You can make statements, bring witnesses, and question your employer's witnesses.

If your hearing is in-person, you should bring a few copies of any documents you want to use as evidence because you might have to give them to other people who are there. Evidence is information or documents that prove what happened.

If your hearing is virtual, make sure you know how to share your screen before your hearing, as you will be asked to show evidence this way.

What to do at your hearing or consultation

Evidence helps you prove what happened. Bring as much evidence as you can to your consultation or hearing. Examples of evidence can include your employment contract, emails with your employer, and copies of workplace policies.

When you show the Vice-Chair evidence, you should be able to explain what the evidence proves and why it matters.

You can also have witnesses. Your witnesses can tell the Vice-Chair what they saw or heard. Your employer will also be able to ask them questions.

Before your hearing, review the facts about your complaint. Decide what's most important and focus on that. Write down all the events that happened, in the order they happened. This can help you explain things more clearly.

When you're at your consultation or hearing, try to stay calm as you present your information.

If you don't understand what's happening, you can ask the Vice-Chair a question.

Make sure you talk about all the facts that are important.

Get legal help

If you don't have a , you should try to get legal help with your OLRB claim.

A lawyer or paralegal can give you advice about the law, draft your application, and represent you at your hearing.

The Law Society Referral Service can give you the name of a lawyer or paralegal you can consult with for free, for up to 30 minutes.

JusticeNet is a not-for-profit organization that can help people find legal services when their income is too high for legal aid and too low to afford legal fees. Their website has a list of lawyers, paralegals, and mediators who charge reduced fees based on your income and the size of your family. You must register and pay a small fee to use their services.

The Workers’ Health & Safety Legal Clinic helps people with low incomes who are having health and safety problems at work. Some community legal clinics also help with these problems.

If you've been injured or punished by your employer for complaining about , you can also contact the Office of the Worker Adviser. They can give you information and legal advice if you don't have a union.

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