Frequently Asked Questions

​This web page contains general information about the Financial Services Tribunal.  This information is intended to assist you in understanding the role and function of the Tribunal and the hearing process as you prepare for a hearing.  We recommend that you read all the questions if you are going through the hearing process.
 
If you have questions other than those listed on this web page, please contact the Tribunal (see below for contact information).  If we are unable to answer your questions or if your questions require a legal opinion, you may want to seek the advice of a lawyer.  Tribunal staff cannot provide legal advice.
 
 

Financial Services Tribunal Contact Information

5160 Yonge Street
14th Floor
P.O. Box 85
Toronto, ON  M2N 6L9
  
Phone: (416) 590-7294
Toll free: 1-800-668-0128  ext. 7294
TTY: 1-800-387-0584
Fax: (416) 226-7750
 
 

Frequently Asked Questions Index

 
  1. What is the Financial Services Tribunal?
  2. Under which statutes can the Tribunal hold hearings?
  3. How can I get access to the Governing Statutes and other Ontario statutes and regulations?
  4. Do I need to pay any fees to get a hearing before the Tribunal?
  5. Do I need a lawyer or paralegal to represent me before the Tribunal?
  6. Where will the hearing take place?
  7. What is the role of the Registrar’s office?
  8. What costs might I incur if I exercise my right to a hearing? 
  9. What Rules govern Tribunal proceedings?
  10. How do I get started?
  11. How much time do I have to file a Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal?
  12. What is the process after I file my Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal?
  13. Can I participate in a proceeding already on-going before the Tribunal if I have an interest in the matter?
  14. What is a pre-hearing conference?
  15. Can the parties agree to a settlement if they feel the proceeding can be settled without the need for a hearing?
  16. Who will conduct the hearing?
  17. Who are the parties to the proceeding?
  18. How are hearings conducted?
  19. What happens at the evidentiary phase of a hearing?
  20. What happens at the argument phase of the hearing?
  21. What notice do I need to give and what notice am I entitled to receive concerning witnesses that will be called at the hearing?
  22. What notice is involved in the case of expert witnesses?
  23. How do I arrange for a witness?
  24. How do I give the summons to the witness?
  25. How do I prove to the Tribunal that the summons was given to the witness?
  26. Will I have to pay the witness any fees?
  27. Can I call a FSCO staff member as a witness?
  28. What if one of my witnesses needs an interpreter for the hearing?
  29. Can the Tribunal provide me with assistance for any special needs? 
  30. When will the Tribunal give its decision?
  31. Does the Tribunal record the hearing?
  32. Can I obtain a copy of the hearing transcript?
  33. What if I want an adjournment of the hearing date?
  34. What are the responsibilities of the parties during the hearing process?
  35. Does the Tribunal provide photocopying services for hearing participants?
  36. What if I want to withdraw my Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal?
  37. What information does the Tribunal publish on the Internet about my hearing?
  38. Will the decision in my case be made publically available?
  39. How long will the decision in my case remain on the Internet?
  40. Does the Tribunal make the evidence and other documents I file in the hearing available on the Internet?
  41. Will my hearing be held in public or in private?
 
1.  What is the Financial Services Tribunal?
 
The Financial Services Tribunal (also known as the Tribunal or the FST) is an independent, decision-making body that hears appeals from decisions and reviews proposed decisions of the Superintendent of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and of the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO).   Proceedings before the Tribunal are conducted at the request of affected persons to whom the decisions or proposed decisions have been directed. If you receive a decision or proposed decision from the Superintendent or DICO and you do not agree with the decision or proposed decision, you have the right to request that the Tribunal hear your case.
 
 
2.  Under which statutes can the Tribunal hold hearings?
 
The Tribunal has authority to hold hearings under the following statutes of the province of Ontario (the Governing Statutes):
 
  • Pension Benefits Act
  • Insurance Act
  • Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006
  • Loans and Trust Corporations Act
  • Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 1994 
  • Co-operative Corporations Act 
  • Prepaid Hospital and Medical Services Act
 
3.  How can I get access to the Governing Statutes and other Ontario statutes and regulations?
 
Ontario’s statutes and regulations can be found at www.e-laws.gov.on.ca [New Window] and also on CanLii at www.canlii.org/en/on/onfst/ [New Window] 
 
 
4.  Do I need to pay any fees to get a hearing before the Tribunal?
 
The Tribunal does not charge any fees for hearings.
 
 
5.  Do I need a lawyer or paralegal to represent me before the Tribunal?
 
You may choose to represent yourself or you may wish to hire a lawyer or paralegal to represent you at your own expense.  This is the individual decision of each party. The Tribunal does not make referrals to lawyers or paralegals. To obtain the name of a lawyer or paralegal, you may consult the Lawyer and Paralegal Directory operated by the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) at www.lsuc.ca[New Window] or you may call the Lawyer Referral Service at (416) 947-3330 or 1-800-268-8326.
 
The Law Society Act prohibits the practice of law and the provision of legal services without a licence. However, in some situations, you may be represented by someone who is neither a lawyer nor a paralegal, that is, by someone who does not have a valid licence to practice law in Ontario or to provide legal services in Ontario. The Law Society of Upper Canada exempts certain groups and individuals from the licensing requirement. Accordingly, if you wish to be represented by someone who is not licensed as a lawyer or paralegal, you should contact the Law Society of Upper Canada in order to determine whether this individual is exempt under the by-laws: (416) 947-3315; 1-800-668-7380; lawsociety@lsuc.on.ca. Strictly by way of information, the exemptions as of 2011 contained in By-law 4 include the following:
 
  • individuals employed by a single employer who provide legal services only for said employer;
  • individuals who are not in the business of providing legal services and occasionally provide assistance to a friend or relative for no fee;
  • articling students;
  • employees of legal clinics funded by Legal Aid Ontario;
  • law students working in student legal aid services' societies, provided they are supervised by a lawyer and covered by the lawyer's insurance;
  • employees of organizations similar to legal clinics that provide free services to low-income clients, provided they meet certain criteria as to their non-profit status and funding; and
  • employees of a trade union, volunteer representatives of a trade union or individuals designated by the Ontario Federation of Labour who provide legal services to the union, a member of the union, a former member of the union or a survivor.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive and it is subject to change.
 
 
6. Where will the hearing take place?
 
Hearings are held at the office of the Tribunal, at the following address:
Financial Services Tribunal
5160 Yonge Street
14th Floor
Toronto, Ontario 
 
The Tribunal office is located at the south-west corner of Yonge and Park Home Ave., which is just a few blocks north of the Yonge and Sheppard intersection.
 
If you are taking the TTC, take the subway on the Yonge-University subway line and get off at the North York Centre stop.
 
 
7.  What is the role of the Registrar’s office?
 
The Registrar’s office may provide information about the Tribunal’s Rules and the administration of the hearing process.  It cannot provide any legal advice or refer you to a lawyer.   The Registrar’s office does not represent any party to the proceeding.
 
  
8.  What costs might I incur if I exercise my right to a hearing?
 
If you exercise your right to a hearing, you may incur the following costs:
 
  • the cost of hiring a lawyer or agent (if you choose to hire one),
  • the cost of making multiple copies (usually four) of material that you file with the Tribunal, 
  • witness fees for any witnesses that are summoned to appear before the Tribunal on your behalf, 
  • the cost of hiring an expert witness that appears on your behalf, and 
  • the cost of producing any transcript copies that you may require of the evidence portion of your hearing (at which witnesses have given their oral evidence).
The Tribunal will pay the cost of having a court reporter attend the hearing to record the oral evidence.  However, the Tribunal does not pay the cost of the reporter producing a transcript of that evidence.  
 
While the Tribunal has the power to order a party to pay the costs that other parties have incurred in connection with a proceeding before it (and even to pay the costs of the Tribunal itself), this authority is rarely exercised.  Both measures are exceptional and are limited to the narrow circumstances described in Rules 41.01 and 42.05, respectively.  The Tribunal does not follow the civil court practice of ordering an unsuccessful party to pay the costs of the successful party. A party’s degree of success in a proceeding before the Tribunal is not a relevant consideration in determining whether, and how, the Tribunal will exercise its discretion under Rule 41.
 
 
9.  What Rules govern Tribunal proceedings?
 
All parties who are involved in a proceeding before the Tribunal are expected to follow the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure for Proceedings before the Financial Services Tribunal.  These Rules can be found on the Tribunal’s website at www.fstontario.ca/english/rules/.  You can also ask for a copy of the Rules by contacting the office of the Registrar of the FST by telephone at (416) 590-7294 or by e-mail at contact@fstontario.ca.
 
 
10.  How do I get started?  
 
If you wish to request a hearing or file an appeal with the Tribunal, you must complete a Request for Hearing (Form 1) [PDF Document] Size: ## kb or a Notice of Appeal (Form 2) [PDF Document] Size: ## kb and then file it with the Tribunal. 
 
A Request for Hearing is filed by someone who is affected by a proposed or intended decision of the Superintendent and who wishes to have a hearing before the Tribunal.  This person is referred to as an "applicant".
 
A Notice of Appeal is filed by someone who is affected by a decision of the Superintendent or Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario and who wishes to have a hearing before the Tribunal. This person is referred to as an "appellant".
 
You must provide the Superintendent or the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (as applicable) with a copy of the Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal at about the same time as you file the document with the Tribunal.  For more information, refer to Rule 15 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 
 
11.  How much time do I have to file a Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal?
 
A Request for Hearing (Form 1) or a Notice of Appeal (Form 2) must be filed with the Tribunal within the timeframe set out in the Governing Statute that establishes the right to a hearing.  It is your responsibility to find out what that timeframe is and to file the form on time.
 
The formal notice that the Superintendent or DICO gives of the decision or proposed decision will usually indicate the relevant timeframe for exercising your right to a hearing before the Tribunal.
 
 
12. What is the process after I file my Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal?
 
Normally the Registrar’s office contacts the parties to schedule a pre-hearing conference (PHC).
 
 
13.  Can I participate in a proceeding already on-going before the Tribunal if I have an interest in the matter?
 
A person who is not an applicant or appellant, or a respondent but is interested in actively participating in a proceeding as a party must file a written Application for Party Status (Form 4) [PDF Document] Size: ## kb with the Registrar of the Tribunal and provide a copy to the other parties.  For more information, refer to Rule 37 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 
The applicant, the appellant or any respondent may object to any application for party status.  The Tribunal decides whether to grant party status.  It may also restrict or impose conditions upon a person's participation as a party.  For additional information, refer to Rule 37 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 
A person who has an interest in a proceeding before the Tribunal may find that his or her interest will be adequately represented by another party to the proceeding.  In this case there may be no need to apply for party status.
 
 
14. What is a pre-hearing conference?
 
The purpose of a pre-hearing conference (PHC) is to plan for the hearing. It involves a less formal process than the hearing itself.  A PHC is a planning session to deal with issues that need to be resolved before the hearing, in order to ensure an efficient hearing process.
 
Rule 16 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure provide examples of topics that may be discussed at a PHC.  Examples include: the clear identification of the issues, how the facts and documents will be presented to the Tribunal (including whether the parties can agree on all or part of the evidence), the number of witnesses (if any), whether there will be expert witnesses, the estimated duration of the hearing and dates for the hearing.
 
The PHC is not designed to deal with the specifics of the case or the parties’ arguments.
 
 
15. Can the parties agree to a settlement if they feel the proceeding can be settled without the need for a hearing?
 
The parties are free to attempt to settle a proceeding amongst themselves and ideally this should take place well in advance of the hearing date.
 
If all of the issues are resolved through settlement, a hearing does not need to be held, and the Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal can be withdrawn.
 
If settlement discussions take place, but the matter remains unresolved, your hearing will take place as scheduled on the date or dates set at the pre-hearing conference.  At your hearing, no party is permitted to refer to any settlement discussions, as those discussions are considered privileged and confidential.
 
 
16.  Who will conduct the hearing?
 
Most cases are heard by a three-person panel that is selected from the members of the Tribunal by the Chair of the FST. In some circumstances, the panel may be composed of only one member.
 
 
17.  Who are the parties to the proceeding?
 
The parties to the proceeding are the applicant [the party that files a Request for Hearing with the Tribunal], or appellant [the party that files a Notice of Appeal with the Tribunal], as well as the respondents.
 
The term “respondent” refers to a party who responds to your request for a hearing or appeal.  The Superintendent will be the respondent if he issued the Decision or Notice of Intended Decision at issue. If it was issued by the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario, DICO will be the respondent.  There may also be other interested parties who have applied for and been granted party status by the Tribunal.  If those parties support in whole or in part the position taken by the Superintendent or DICO (as the case may be) they may sometimes be referred to as respondents as well.
 
 
18.  How are hearings conducted?
 
A hearing can be held in person, by telephone conference or in writing at the discretion of the panel chair.  However, the majority of Tribunal hearings are held in person.  An in-person hearing requires the appearance of all the parties and/or any representatives acting on their behalf. The hearing is open to the public, unless otherwise ordered by the Tribunal.
 
The hearing usually consists of an "evidentiary phase", in which the facts are presented to the Tribunal, and an "argument phase", in which the parties make their arguments to the Tribunal about how those facts should be interpreted and how the law should be applied to them. Often the parties can limit the evidentiary phase by agreeing on some or all of the relevant facts.
 
The applicant or appellant usually goes first during both the argument and evidentiary phases, followed by the respondent, plus a final right of reply by the applicant or appellant. The order of appearance and the role of any added party is determined at the pre-hearing conference.
 
 
19.  What happens at the evidentiary phase of a hearing?
 
Where the evidence has not been agreed to, the chair will ask each party to present his or her case during the evidentiary phase.  This is an opportunity for parties to present their evidence to the Tribunal through their own testimony and/or that of other witnesses.
 
Witnesses are people who possess relevant knowledge or information (related to the hearing or appeal).
 
Each witness is asked to take an oath or affirmation to tell the truth before giving testimony.  Witnesses may introduce relevant documents that they are familiar with into evidence.  The evidence provided by each witness will supplement any facts and documents that have been agreed upon by the parties for the purposes of the hearing.  The Tribunal may take into account any facts and documents that were agreed upon by the parties, without the need for oral testimony.
 
When a particular witness has finished giving his or her testimony – or “evidence-in-chief” – the other parties will be given the opportunity to question the witness.  This question period is called a "cross-examination".   Reasons for asking questions may be to: clarify something that was said, get more detailed information, or show that an error may have been made in the evidence-in-chief of the witness.  At any time, the members of the hearing panel may also ask the witness questions.
 
Finally, the party that called the witness will be given the opportunity to re-question the witness, to clarify anything that was said during the cross-examination.   This is called re-examination.
 
 
20.  What happens at the argument phase of the hearing?
 
After all the parties have finished presenting their evidence, each party will be invited to make its argument.  The argument analyzes the evidence and gives reasons why the Tribunal should support that party on issues in the proceeding.  No new evidence can be presented at this "argument phase" of the hearing.  This rule holds, even if the applicant or appellant is self-represented and is making the argument with the benefit of personal knowledge of any relevant facts.  If certain facts are to be considered by the Tribunal, they must be presented by a witness (which may be the applicant or appellant) at the evidentiary phase, or they must be facts that were agreed upon by all parties for the purpose of the hearing.  Only evidence heard by the Tribunal at the evidentiary phase can be mentioned during the argument phase.
 
 
21.  What notice do I need to give and what notice am I entitled to receive concerning witnesses that will be called at the hearing?
 
Any party who intends to call witnesses must provide the other parties with a list of the witnesses’ names, along with a brief explanation of what each witness will say in evidence. This must occur at least 30 days before the hearing, or as otherwise directed by the Tribunal.  A timetable for exchanging witness lists is usually discussed at the pre-hearing conference. For more information, refer to Rule 30 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 
 
22.  What notice is involved in the case of expert witnesses?
 
Any party who intends to call an expert witness, or plans to rely on or refer to the written report of an expert, must do the following:
 
  • Provide the other parties with a signed copy of that report, or a report summarizing the expert opinion that the witness will give.
  • Provide the name, address and qualifications of the expert witness. 
The report must be provided at least 30 days before the hearing or as otherwise directed by the Tribunal. A timetable for exchanging expert reports is usually discussed at the pre-hearing conference.  For more information, refer to Rule 29 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 
 
23.  How do I arrange for a witness?
 
If you would like to call on a witness to provide evidence or produce documents for your hearing, you must arrange for that individual to attend the hearing.  You also need to inform the witness of the hearing dates.
 
If you believe your witness will not attend the hearing voluntarily, you can ask the Tribunal to issue a Summons to a Witness (this is Form 3 [PDF Document] Size: ## kb), which will require the individual to attend the hearing.  For more information, refer to Rule 31 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 
You are responsible for completing the Summons to a Witness form and for submitting it to the Registrar of the Tribunal.  This form must include the name and full address of the individual to be summoned.  After the form is submitted, the Registrar will ask the Chair of the Tribunal, or his delegate, whether he is prepared to sign the form.  Once the summons is signed, the Registrar will return it to you.
 
 
24.  How do I give the summons to the witness?
 
You are responsible for ensuring that the summons is personally delivered to the witness.  You can choose to deliver the summons yourself, or you can have it delivered by someone else.
 
The summons must be handed directly to the witness.  It cannot be mailed or faxed to the witness, or left with another person at the witness’s address.
 
 
25. How do I prove to the Tribunal that the summons was given to the witness?
 
If a witness does not attend a hearing, you may need to prove that the witness was properly served with the summons.  The person who served the summons on the witness should prepare an affidavit.   An affidavit provides the Tribunal with details on how and when the summons was personally served on the witness.  The affidavit must be sworn before a Commissioner of Oaths or a Notary Public.
 
  
26.  Will I have to pay the witness any fees?
 
A witness is entitled to witness fees for attending the hearing.   These fees are set out in Appendix B of the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 
When you personally deliver a summons to an individual, you should inform that individual that he or she is entitled to receive witness fees.  You are responsible for paying these fees.
 
 
27.  Can I call a FSCO staff member as a witness?
 
Neither the Superintendent, nor any FSCO staff members are required to testify in a proceeding before the Tribunal, unless the consent of the Superintendent is first obtained.
 
 
28.  What if I one of my witnesses needs an interpreter for the hearing?
 
If any party’s witness requires an interpreter, the party should identify this need in writing to the Registrar’s office as soon as possible, so that arrangements can be made for an interpreter to attend the hearing.
 
 
29.  Can the tribunal provide me with assistance for any special needs?
 
If any party or any of its witnesses need special equipment or services because of a disability, that party should identify the need in writing to the Registrar’s office as soon as possible.  This will ensure that the Tribunal can take reasonable steps to provide the equipment or services that are needed.
 
 
30.  When will the Tribunal give its decision?
 
The Tribunal normally gives its decision some time after the conclusion of the hearing.  This allows it enough time to fully consider all of the evidence and arguments that were presented at the hearing.  The panel will give its decision in writing along with written reasons.  The Registrar will send a copy of the Tribunal’s decision and its reasons to all parties (or their representatives).  The Tribunal’s decisions are also posted on CanLII[New Window]  A Tribunal decision is final and conclusive, unless the Governing Statute under which it was made allows for an appeal or review by the courts.
 
 
31.  Does the Tribunal record the hearing?
 
If witnesses are going to be called to give evidence, the Tribunal will arrange to have a court reporter present to record that evidence.
 
 
32.  Can I obtain a copy of the hearing transcript?
 
A party may obtain a copy of an entire transcript, or a portion of any transcript, at his or her expense, from the court reporter.  If a party orders a transcript, it must also pay for and provide the Tribunal with a certified copy (or certified copies, not to exceed three, as directed by the Registrar).  For additional information, refer to Rule 24 of the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 
 
33. What if I want an adjournment of the hearing date?
 
Normally a hearing will take place on the date that it is scheduled.  However, if you need to request an adjournment of a hearing to a different date, then you must make the request in writing to the Tribunal and explain the reason for your request.  You must also send a copy of your request to the other parties to the proceeding.  It is up to the Tribunal to decide whether your request will be granted however, it is helpful to have the consent of the other parties.
 
 
34.  What are the responsibilities of the parties during the hearing process?
 
During the hearing process, all parties are responsible for the following:
 
  • Attending the hearing on the dates set by the Tribunal - If a party or its representative does not appear (or make itself available to participate in a scheduled teleconference call) on a hearing date set by the Tribunal, the proceeding may go ahead without that party’s participation.  Furthermore, the absent party will not be entitled to any further notice in the matter and the Tribunal may make a decision in the absence of that party.
  • Corresponding with the Tribunal – Each party is required to send a copy of its correspondence with the Tribunal to the other parties.
  • Filing submissions with the Tribunal – Each party is responsible for filing four (4) copies of any written arguments or submissions with the Tribunal.  It is also responsible for providing a copy to the other parties, within the timeframe set by the Tribunal. If your documents have been produced electronically, please provide an electronic copy (in Word) to the Tribunal in addition to the required hard copies.
 
35.  Does the Tribunal provide photocopying services for hearing participants?
 
The Tribunal does not provide photocopying services, due to its limited human and financial resources.  Parties must make sufficient copies of any documents that they require at the hearing at their own expense.
 
 
36.  What if I want to withdraw my Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal?
 
The applicant or appellant may withdraw the Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal by filing with the Tribunal a Withdrawal (Form 5) [PDF Document] Size: ## kb, that is signed by the party (or its representative).  The applicant or appellant must also provide copies of the Form 5 to the other parties.  The Tribunal may impose conditions on any withdrawal it considers appropriate.   For more information, refer to Rule 39 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 
 
37.  What information does the Tribunal publish on the Internet about my hearing?
  
The Tribunal publishes the names of the parties, their representatives and a schedule of dates on the Hearings section of its website.  This information is maintained on the site until after the file is closed.
 
 
38.  Will the decision in my case be made publically available?
 
Yes. The Tribunal publishes its decisions on the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website at www.canlii.org/en/on/onfst. [New Window]
 
 
39.  How long will the decision in my case remain on the Internet?
 
The Tribunal’s decisions remain on the internet indefinitely, in order to make the public aware of the Tribunal’s evolving decisions, and to promote an open and transparent justice system.
 
 
40.  Does the Tribunal make the evidence and other documents I file in the hearing available on the Internet?
 
No. The Tribunal only posts decisions on the internet.  However, the Tribunal provides public access to the documents filed in connection with its hearings if a person requests to see the documents filed on the public record.  In exceptional cases the Tribunal may order that documentary evidence be kept off the public record.  Please see the Tribunal’s communication on Information For Parties With Privacy Concerns.
 
 
41.  Will my hearing be held in public or in private?
 
The Tribunal normally conducts its hearings in public in accordance with its Rules of Practice and Procedure for Hearings Before the Financial Services Tribunal and because it is committed to an open and transparent justice system.  It is only in rare cases that it holds private hearings.  Please see the Tribunal’s communication on Information For Parties With Privacy Concerns.