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Winter Weather and Hearing Adjournments

As the winter progresses, this is a good time to look at what parties can do if their hearing may be affected by inclement weather. If on the hearing day, a party cannot attend a hearing due to inclement weather, the party should contact the Scheduling Department (either the hearing coordinator who scheduled the hearing or Noela Oliveira, Appeals Administrator Assistant, at 416-314-8797 by telephone to provide details about weather related difficulties. Parties should provide specific details such as what efforts were made to get to the hearing, whether the client is aware of difficulty in attending the hearing, etc. At this point, a party may ask for an adjournment of the hearing date. The verbal request should be followed up by a written request that can be faxed to the Scheduling Department at 416-314-7954. If a party asks for an adjournment on the hearing date, the adjournment request is forwarded to the Vice-Chair or Hearing Panel for a decision. In some cases, the Vice-Chair or Hearing Panel may rule that the hearing proceed by conference call. The Scheduling Department will contact the parties to advise them of the decision by the Vice-Chair or Hearing Panel.

Generally weather forecasts provide a degree of predictability which allows parties to take action to ensure that they can attend the hearing. For example, some parties may arrange to arrive at the hearing location the evening before the hearing or request an adjustment of the start time of a hearing. It is fine to contact other parties to determine if they are able to attend a hearing but please keep in mind that parties must forward a formal adjournment request of a hearing if they have exhausted all options for attending the hearing.

 

Posted on: January 12, 2009