The first Toronto Local Appeal Body “TLAB” hearing will be taking place later this month and digital evidence demonstrations are being held to help prepare those who will be involved with the first hearings.
Here are some of my observations of the facilities and procedures after attending a demonstration yesterday:
The TLAB is located on the second floor of the Toronto Northern District Public Library located at 40 Orchard View Blvd. I parked across the road in the RioCan underground parking for the Yonge Eglinton Centre. Rates during the day are $3 per 20 minutes up to a maximum of $20.
There are two hearing rooms and they are small. We were gathered in the ‘big’ room. At one point, there were ten people in the room with several of us standing and it didn’t look like there would be room for any more. I understand that there is a larger room in the library that will be used once or twice per month for hearings that need to accommodate more people, but an average hearing may be a tight squeeze.
This [big] room was extremely warm even with the door open, so be sure to wear your summer suit until the permanent facility is completed in the new year. This new space will be down the hall from where the TLAB currently resides and will hopefully have better airflow.
The rooms each have a monitor on the wall that appears to be about 36” wide. It is connected to a computer with no internet access. TLAB staff will preload this computer with the disclosed documents so they are available to the parties to access during the hearing. There is one wireless keyboard and two wireless mouse devices.
You should bring your own laptop or tablet. There is a set of connectors for parties to use to hook up their device to the monitor. Only one device can be hooked up at one time so parties will need to share control of the monitor.
There are various hook ups, including connectors for Apple devices and HDMI. There are no micro connectors so Android devices may not be compatible and there are no wireless options.
The TLAB is working on a digital policy binder which will be located on the desktop and contain general policy documents. They will consider these documents ‘pre-disclosed’ so that eventually parties will not need to submit copies of the Official Plan, Provincial Policy Statement, etc. For now, all policy documents that a party plans to reply upon should be disclosed.
Disclosed documents will be contained in a folder on the computer desktop. They will be grouped into sections based on the party who filed them.
Documents can be edited and highlighted during the hearing and a party may ask permission from the Board member to save the edited copy.
A party may wish to put together a PowerPoint presentation to help with their evidence. This is permitted so long as all information contained in the presentation has been properly disclosed. It is safest to have the presentation prepared in time to disclose before the deadline.
The TLAB does not have any special disclosure rules for jurisprudence. If a lawyer has not submitted his or her cases to the Board before the mandated timeline for document disclosure, they need to be granted permission from the Board Member to be able to refer to them. For this reason, it is recommended that all cases to be relied upon are submitted before the disclosure deadline.
The hearing will be audio recorded but not transcribed. A party may arrange to have a transcription completed at their own expense. Audio recordings will be made available to the public after the hearing.
Although hearings commence at 9:00am, the office opens at 8:30 so a party may wish to arrive earlier to become familiar with the set up.
I understand that further policies may be implemented once enough hearings have taken place to get a feel for how the process is working.
By: Sarah Hahn