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Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides general information about the Financial Services Tribunal (FST) to assist you in understanding the FST and the hearing process as you prepare for a pre-hearing conference or a hearing. We recommend that you read all the questions and answers if you are going through the hearing process. You should also read the Financial Services Tribunal’s Guide to Regulatory Proceedings as well as the FST’s Rules and Practice Directions.

If you have questions other than those listed on this web page, please contact the Registrar. 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. FST staff cannot provide you with legal advice.

The following is a list of acronyms and defined terms that are used throughout this FAQ:

  • FST (Financial Services Tribunal)
  • FSRA (Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario)
  • FSRA CEO (the Chief Executive Office of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario)
  • Governing Statutes (the Ontario statutes under which the FST has authority to hold hearings)


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 Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).   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 CEO and you do not agree with the decision or proposed decision, you have the right to request that the Tribunal hear your case.

The Registrar’s office may provide information about the FST’s Rules and the administration of the hearing process. It cannot provide legal advice or refer you to a lawyer. The Registrar’s office does not represent any party to the proceeding.

You may choose to represent yourself or retain a lawyer or paralegal to represent you at your own expense. If you wish to obtain legal advice, you should consult a person licensed by the Law Society of Ontario or you may call the Law Society of Ontario Lawyer Referral Service at (416) 947-3330 or 1-800-268-8326.

If you wish to be represented by someone who is not licensed as a lawyer or paralegal, you should contact the Law Society of Ontario (at (416) 947-3315, 1-800-668-738, or in order to determine whether that individual is exempt from the licensing requirements under the Law Society’s by-laws and therefore able to represent you.

A hearing can be held in one or a combination of the following ways:

  • In person
  • Electronically (including using the Microsoft Teams Platform)
  • In writing (at the discretion of the panel chair)

An in person hearing requires the appearance of all the parties and/or any representatives acting on their behalf. All hearings are open to the public, unless otherwise ordered by the FST. A decision will be made as to the format of the hearing at a pre-hearing conference prior to the hearing itself. In person hearings are held at the FST office, at the following address:

Financial Services Tribunal

25 Sheppard Avenue West, 7th Floor, Suite 710

Toronto, Ontario

M2N 6S6

The FST publishes the names of the parties, their representatives and a schedule of dates on the Current Cases section of its website. This information is maintained on the site until the file is closed. FST decisions can be found on the CanLII website.

Submitting a Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal

If you wish to request a hearing or file an appeal with the FST, you must complete a Request for Hearing (Form 1) or a Notice of Appeal (Form 2), as the case may be, and file it with the FST.

Request for Hearing (Form 1): file if you (an applicant) are affected by a proposed or intended decision of the FSRA CEO and wish to have a hearing before the FST.

Notice of Appeal (Form 2): file if you (an appellant) are affected by an order of the FSRA CEO and wish to appeal the order to the FST.

You must provide the FSRA CEO with a copy of the Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal at about the same time as you file the document with the FST. For more information, refer to Rule 15 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure.

If you wish to request a hearing in French, please advise the Registrar at the time the Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal is filed. Arrangements will be made through the pre-hearing conference process.

A Request for Hearing (Form 1) or a Notice of Appeal (Form 2) must be filed with the FST 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. You may refer to the question on statutes to find out the timeframe. A failure to file a Request for Hearing or a Notice of Appeal within the statutory timeframe may result in a loss of your right to a hearing or appeal.

The formal notice that the FSRA CEO gives of the decision or proposed decision will usually indicate the timeframe for exercising your right to a hearing before the FST.

Normally the Registrar’s office contacts the parties within 35 days to schedule a pre-hearing conference (PHC).

Fees and Cost

The FST does not charge any fees to get a hearing before the FST.

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 copies (usually four) of the material that you file with the FST
  • Witness fees for any witnesses that are summoned to appear on your behalf
  • The cost of hiring an expert witness that appears on your behalf (however, there are many types of cases that do not involve expert witnesses)
  • The cost of ordering transcript copies, if you wish to have copies, of the evidence portion of your hearing

The FST can order a party to pay the costs that other parties have incurred in connection with the proceeding and to pay the costs of the FST. However, this authority is rarely exercised, both measures are exceptional and are limited to the circumstances described in Rules 41.01 and 42.05.

The FST will pay the cost of having a court reporter attend the hearing to record the oral evidence, but not the cost of the reporter producing a transcript of that evidence.

Participants, Roles and Responsibilities

Often, cases are heard by a three-person panel that is selected from the members of the FST by the Chair of the FST. In some circumstances, the panel may be composed of only one member. Pre-hearing conferences are generally conducted by one member who is usually the Chair of the hearing.

The parties to the proceeding are:

The applicant (the party that files a Request for Hearing); or the appellant (the party that files a Notice of Appeal). There may be more than one applicant or appellant.

The respondents (the party who responds to a request for a hearing or appeal (the FSRA CEO))

There may be other interested parties who have applied for and been granted party status by the FST as “third parties”.

During the hearing process, all parties are responsible for the following:

Attending all pre-hearing conference dates and hearing dates set by the FST: If a party or its representative does not appear (or make itself available to participate in a Teams call or seek an advance adjournment of such dates) on a hearing date scheduled by the FST, the proceeding may go ahead without that party’s participation or the matter may be dismissed. In the FST’s discretion, the absent party will not be entitled to any further notice in the matter and the FST may make a decision in their absence.

Corresponding with the FST: Each party is required to send a copy of correspondence with the FST to the other parties.

If you are sending the FST correspondence by mail, the following address is to be used:

Financial Services Tribunal

25 Sheppard Avenue West, Suite 100

Toronto, Ontario

M2N 6S6

Filing submissions with the FST: Each party is responsible for filing four (4) copies of written arguments or submissions with the FST. It is also responsible for providing a copy to the other parties, within the set timeframe. If documents have been produced electronically, the parties are asked to provide an electronic copy (in Word) to the FST in addition to the required hard copies.

The FST does not provide photocopying services. Parties must make sufficient copies of any documents that they require for the hearing at their own expense.

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 an Application for Party Status (Form 4) with the Registrar of the FST and provide a copy to the other parties.

The applicant, the appellant or a respondent may object to an application for party status. The FST decides whether to grant party status and may restrict or impose conditions upon a person's participation as a party. For additional information, refer to Rule 37 of the FST’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.

A person who believes they have an interest in a proceeding should consider whether that interest may be adequately represented by another party to the proceeding. In such case there may be no need for the person to apply for party status.

Pre-Hearing Conference and Hearing Process

The purpose of a PHC is to plan for the hearing and to deal with issues that need to be resolved before the hearing. A PHC has a less formal process than the hearing and is intended to ensure an efficient hearing process.

Rule 16.01 of the FST’s Rules of Practice and Procedure provides examples of topics that may be discussed at a PHC. Examples include the following:

  • The dates for the hearing
  • The estimated duration of the hearing
  • The identification of the issues
  • The presentation of the facts and documents to the FST (including whether the parties can agree on all or part of the evidence)
  • The number of witnesses (if any)
  • The presence of expert witnesses

For greater clarity, please refer to Rule 16.01 for a full list of topics that may be considered at the PHC.

The PHC is not designed to deal with the merits of the case or the parties’ related arguments.

Usually, the hearing consists of an "evidentiary phase" and an “arguments phase.”

In the evidentiary phase, the parties present their facts and documents to the FST. Often the parties can limit the evidentiary phase by agreeing on some or all of the relevant facts by way of an Agreed Statement of Facts and an Agreed Book of Documents.

In the arguments phase, the parties make their arguments to the FST about how the facts and documents from the evidentiary phase should be interpreted and how the law should be applied to them. In other words, they make submissions to the FST as to why the case should be decided in their favour.

The order of appearance and the role of any added party is determined at the pre-hearing conference.

Where the evidence has not been agreed to, the chair will ask each party to present his or her case. This is an opportunity for parties to present their evidence 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 make an affirmation to tell the truth before giving testimony. Parties may introduce relevant documents into evidence through witnesses. The evidence provided by each witness (oral testimony) will supplement any facts and documents that have been agreed upon by the parties for the purposes of the hearing. The FST may take into account any facts and documents that were already 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 questioning is called "cross-examination". A party may cross-examine to: clarify something that was said, get more detailed information, or to discredit a witness by showing that evidence given during the examination-in-chief was incorrect. At any time, the members of the hearing panel may ask the witness questions.

Finally, the party that called the witness will be given the opportunity to re-question the witness. This is called re-examination. Re-examination may be used to allow the witness to clarify anything that was raised during the cross-examination. Re-examination may not be used to have the witness repeat evidence previously given or to introduce evidence that should have been given during examination-in-chief.

After the parties have finished presenting their evidence, each party will be invited to make its argument. The argument reviews the evidence and gives reasons why the FST should support that party on the issues in the proceeding based on the evidence before the FST.

Only evidence heard by the FST at the evidentiary phase or facts and documents that were agreed upon by all parties for the purpose of the hearing can be mentioned during the argument phase. No new evidence can be presented at this phase of the hearing.

The parties can attempt to settle a proceeding amongst themselves. 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 by the applicant or appellant. If the matter remains unresolved after a settlement discussion, the hearing will take place as scheduled on the date or dates set at the pre-hearing conference.

At the hearing, no party is permitted to refer to any settlement discussions, as those discussions are considered privileged and confidential.

If you believe that you have good reason to request an adjournment of a hearing to a different date, then you must make the request in writing to the FST and explain the reason for your request. You must also send a copy of your request to the other parties to the proceeding. While it is up to the FST to decide whether your request will be granted the consent of the other parties (or their objection) will certainly influence the FST’s decision.

The FST is committed to an open and transparent justice system and therefore normally conducts its hearings in a format that is open to the public in accordance with its Rules of Practice and Procedure for Hearings Before the Financial Services Tribunal. It is only in rare cases that the FST holds private hearings. Please see the FST’s communication on Privacy and Confidentiality.

The applicant or appellant may withdraw the Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal by filing with the FST a Withdrawal (Form 5) that is signed by the party (or its representative). The applicant or appellant must provide copies of Form 5 to the other parties. The FST may impose conditions on any withdrawal it considers appropriate. For more information, refer to Rule 39 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure.

If witnesses are going to be called to give evidence, the FST will arrange to have a court reporter present to record that evidence.

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. A party ordering a transcript must also pay for and provide the FST with a certified copy (or certified copies, not to exceed three, as directed by the Registrar). For more information, refer to Rule 24 of the FST’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.

Witnesses and Summons

Witnesses are people who possess relevant knowledge or information (related to the hearing or appeal).

If you would like to call on a witness to provide evidence or produce documents for your hearing, you must arrange for that person to attend the hearing and inform them of the hearing dates.

If you believe your witness will not attend the hearing voluntarily, you can ask the FST to issue a Summons to a Witness (Form 3). You are responsible for completing the Summons to a Witness form and for submitting it to the Registrar of the FST. For more information, refer to Rule 31 of the FST’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.

Once the summons is signed by the Chair of the FST (or their delegate), the Registrar will return it to you.

You are responsible for ensuring that the summons is personally delivered and handed directly to the witness. It cannot be mailed or faxed to the witness or left with another person at the witness’s address. You can choose to deliver the summons yourself, or you can have it delivered by someone else. A party will often use a “process server” to serve summonses on witnesses.

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 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.

Any party who intends to call witnesses must provide the other parties with:

  • A list of all of the witnesses’ names
  • A brief summary of what each witness will say in evidence

This must occur at least 30 days before the hearing, or as otherwise directed by the FST. A timetable for exchanging witness lists is usually discussed at the pre-hearing conference. For more information, refer to Rule 30 of the FST’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.

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 name, address and qualifications of the expert witness
  • Provide the other parties with a signed copy of the expert report, or a report summarizing the expert opinion that the witness will give

The report must be provided at least 30 days before the hearing or as otherwise directed by the FST. A timetable for exchanging expert reports is usually discussed at the pre-hearing conference. For more information, refer to Rule 29 of the FST’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.

Neither the CEO, nor any FSRA staff members are required to testify in a proceeding before the FST, unless the consent of the FSRA CEO is first obtained.

If a 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.

A witness is entitled to witness fees for attending the hearing. These fees are set out in Appendix B of the FST’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.


The FST aims to provide its decision within 90 calendar days from the final day of hearing. The panel will give its decision in writing along with written reasons. The Registrar will send a copy of the FST’s decision and its reasons to all parties (or their representatives).

The FST’s decision is final and concludes or ends the matter unless the statute under which it was made allows for an appeal or review by the courts. In some cases a party may ask the FST itself to review its own decision. This is called a reconsideration. Reconsiderations may only address clerical errors or clear mistakes of fact and must be requested within 10 days of the decision.

Yes. The FST publishes its decisions on the CanLII website.

The FST’s decisions remain on the internet indefinitely, in order to make the public aware of the FST’s evolving decisions, and to promote an open and transparent justice system.