My case is going to a hearing at the HRTO. How do I prepare?

1. Prepare your testimony

You have to testify at your hearing at the of Ontario (HRTO). Testifying means you get to tell the Tribunal member, who is like the judge, what you remember about the and how it affected you.

If you have a lawyer, your lawyer will help you testify by asking you questions about what happened.

If you don't have a lawyer, you'll just tell your side of the story to the tribunal member. If you're doing this, you can't just read from a written speech. Don't try to memorize a speech either. It's important that what you say sounds authentic or true. A memorized speech can sound fake to those listening. If the member feels like you're just rehearsing a memorized speech, they may be less likely to believe you.

Instead, make a short list of the most important facts you want to tell the Tribunal member. Review your list many times before the hearing to make sure you don't forget anything important. Then say what happened in your own words.

While you cannot read your testimony straight from a document, you can ask the Tribunal member for permission to look at a document if you need to refresh your memory.

For example, if you can't remember the exact date that something happened, but there is a document with that date on it, you can ask to look at the document to confirm the date.

Only testify about the facts

Only talk about the facts when testifying. This means you only talk about what you saw, heard, and experienced for yourself. This can include how something made you feel.

You're not allowed to give your opinion when testifying.  You can only give opinion during your closing statement at the end of the hearing. Step 5 has more on this.

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