The Hearing Procedure - Normal Farm Practices Protection Board

Table of Contents

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

So you've come to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board for a hearing. At the hearing, you want to convince the board to rule in your favour. You must present your evidence through your witnesses, question the other party's witnesses to try to counter their evidence, and then present your arguments based on the evidence. You and the other party each have the choice of representing yourself or retaining legal representation.

Here is the procedure:

Note: The applicant is the person who brought the case to the board. The respondent is the person against whom the applicant brought the case. The applicant and respondent are called "parties".

1. Introduction

The chair asks the parties (applicant, then respondent) to identify themselves. The chair then announces whether there will be a site visit. The board sometimes visits the site of the complaint to get a better appreciation of the issues.

2. Opening Statements

The applicant makes an opening statement to briefly outline their case. The respondent then makes an
opening statement.

3. Presentation of Applicant's Case

If you're the applicant, you begin presenting your case 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: You ask the witness questions to bring out the evidence you want to present to the board. The evidence can include documents, materials, photos, etc. which you present to the board as 'exhibits'.
  3. Cross-examination: The respondent asks your witness questions to try to counter the evidence presented.
  4. Redirect: You ask the witness questions about issues raised in the cross-examination. You cannot raise new issues at this point.
  5. Board questions: The board members ask the witness questions of clarification.
  6. Response questions – Applicant: You can ask the witness questions to respond to issues raised by the board.
  7. Response questions – Respondent: The respondent can ask the witness questions to respond to issues raised by the board.
  8. Then you call your next witness.

4. Presentation of Respondent's Case

If you are the respondent, you begin calling your witnesses when the applicant is finished with his/her witnesses. The process is the same as for the applicant.

5. Board Witnesses

In some cases the board may feel that the parties' witnesses may not provide particular information needed for making a proper decision. In such cases, the board may call its own expert witness. The procedure for board witnesses is:

  1. Swearing-in.
  2. Board questions: The board panel members ask the witness questions to clarify issues raised in the 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

When all the evidence has been presented, it is now time for arguments. The applicant uses the evidence presented to make his/her 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 arguments, each party should make suggestions to the board about how it should rule.

7. Adjournment

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

Where Will the Hearing Be Held?

The Board tries to hold hearings in areas where the complaints originate. Often the Board holds a hearing in the municipal chambers of the local municipality and the tables are typically set up as shown below. Sometimes the Board does a site visit to get a better appreciation of the issues.

NFPPB hearing table set up.

Text Equivalent

Please Note

This pamphlet is not a substitute for legal advice and 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.

This is the third in a series of pamphlets that include:

It is also strongly recommended that you pick up the Citizen's Guide to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 02 February 2010
Last Reviewed: 02 February 2010