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In line with other regulators, Ontario’s Financial Services Tribunal (FST) has largely shifted to remote hearings due to physical distancing requirements amid the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. It’s now considering in-person proceedings in special cases.

The FST has launched a 30-day public consultation on new procedures for its hearings during the ongoing pandemic.

According to the consultation, while live hearings have generally been adjourned, the FST will consider holding certain proceedings in person.

Provided adequate health and safety precautions are in place, the tribunal may order a matter be heard at an in-person hearing due to “exceptional or special circumstances which justify an in-person hearing,” the consultation said.

To demonstrate special circumstances, one side would have to show that proceeding by an electronic or written hearing “would likely cause them significant prejudice, or that there are other good reasons for not holding an electronic/written hearing,” it said.

The FST said it intends to release its procedures for holding in-person hearings during the pandemic.

Additionally, the tribunal is planning to issue its procedural rules for holding electronic hearings, either by phone or video conference using Microsoft Teams.

These requirements will apply to all electronic hearings, not just proceedings carried out under Covid-related restrictions.

The deadline for providing feedback to the consultation is Oct. 31.