The Hearing Procedure - Normal Farm Practices Protection Board

Table of Contents

  1. Hearing Procedure
  2. Where Will the Hearing Be Held?
  3. Please Note

People can submit an application for a Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB) hearing if they are not satisfied with the conflict resolution process. Whether you are the applicant or respondent at the hearing, you want to convince the board panel to rule in your favour. Bring documents, maps and other materials, and have witnesses give information ("testify") to support your case.

Note: The applicant is the person who applied for a hearing. The respondent is the person against whom the applicant brought the case. The applicant and respondent are called "parties."

Hearings follow a process but are less formal than a provincial court trial. Parties can choose to represent themselves or hire a lawyer.

The Hearing Procedure:

1. Introduction

The chair of the hearing panel explains the hearing process and asks the parties to identify themselves. During the introduction, the chair may announce if there will be a site visit. (The board sometimes visits the site of the complaint to get a better understanding of the issues. The parties, or their representatives, may join the board for the site visit.)

2. Opening Statements

The applicant makes an opening statement to briefly outline their case. The respondent then makes an opening statement to present their side of the issue.

3. Presentation of Applicant's Case

If you are the applicant, you start by calling your first witness. If you want to present the case yourself, you must be sworn in as a witness.

Each witness goes through the following procedure:

  1. Swearing-in: The witness must take an oath or affirmation.
  2. Examination-in-chief: The applicant asks the witness questions to present the evidence for their case. Evidence can include exhibits, such as documents, photographs or maps, but all evidence must be submitted through witnesses. The applicant presents the case if they are the only witness.
  3. Cross-examination: The respondent asks the witness questions to challenge the evidence presented.
  4. Redirect: The applicant asks the witness questions about issues raised in the cross-examination. New issues cannot be raised at this point.
  5. Board questions: The board members ask the witness questions to clarify what the witness said.
  6. Response questions: The applicant can ask the witness questions about issues raised by the board.
  7. Response questions: The respondent can ask the witness questions about issues raised by the board.

Then the applicant calls their next witness.

4. Presentation of Respondent's Case

If you are the respondent, you call your witness(es) when the applicant is finished with their witness(es). Respondent witnesses go through the same process as applicant witnesses.

5. Board Witnesses

In some cases, the board may decide to call its own expert witness to ensure all necessary information is presented.

Each board witness goes through the following procedure:

  1. Swearing-in
  2. Board questions: The board panel members ask the witness questions to clarify issues raised with applicant and respondent evidence.
  3. Response questions: The applicant, and then the respondent, can ask the witness questions about issues raised by the board's questions.

6. Arguments

The argument phase begins after all the evidence has been presented. The applicant uses the evidence presented to make their case. Then the respondent does the same. The applicant is allowed a brief statement to reply to the points made by the respondent. In the argument, each party should make suggestions to the board about how it should rule.

7. Adjournment

The chair then adjourns the hearing. Decisions are normally given within 60 working days, in writing, with the reasons for the decision.

Where Will the Hearing Be Held?

The board tries to hold the hearing in the area where the complaint arose. Often, the board holds a hearing in the municipal chambers of the local municipality. At the hearing, the tables are typically set up as shown below.

Boardroom layout

Text Equivalent


Please Note

this page is not a substitute for legal advice or representation. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs accepts no responsibility or liability for the outcome of any hearing in which any party relies on this pamphlet.

Find out more about normal farm practices, the Farming and Food Production Protection Act and the NFPPB by reading our other pamphlets:

Read the Citizen's Guide to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board for more information on the normal farm practices conflict resolution process and the NFPPB hearing procedure.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 02 February 2010
Last Reviewed: 02 February 2010