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Residential Landlord and Tenant (Ontario) Legal Guide

Chapter 13 - General Board Procedures
(01 September 2020)

  1. Procedural Source Law
    (a) General
    (b) The Statutory Powers Procedures Act (SPPA)
    (c) "Landlord and Tenant Board Rules"
    . Overview
    . Interpreting the LTB Rules
    . Waiver of Rules
    (d) Board "Interpretation Guidelines"
    . Overview
    . Comment Re "Interpretation Guidelines"
    (e) Resolving Conflicts between Legal Sources
  2. Landlord and Tenant Board
    (a) Overview
    (b) Members and Staff
    (c) Administrative Board
    (d) Presiding Board
    . Quorums and Panels
    . Conflict of Interest, Bias and Member Conduct
    . Expiry of Member's Term During Proceeding and Incapacity of a Member
    (e) Dealing with the Board
    (f) Dispute Resolution Officers (DROs) and Hearing Officers
  3. Board Jurisdiction
    (a) Overview
    (b) Parties
    . Overview
    . Jurisdictional Effect of Tenant's Loss of Possession
    . Effect of Default in Payment of "Fine, Fee or Costs" to the Board
    (c) Subject-Matter
    (d) Law
    (e) Geographical Jurisdiction
    (f) Time and Jurisdiction
    (g) Remedies
    . Overview
    . Termination
    . Eviction
    . Monetary Compensation
  4. General Application Procedures
    (a) Overview
    (b) Board Discretion Regarding Procedure
    (c) French and Sign Language Services
    (d) Issuance and Service of Notice of Application and Related Documents
    . Initiation of Application and Required Documentation
    . Service of the Notice of Application and Related Materials
    . Timelines for Service of Application and Materials Where Service Performed by Applicant
    (e) Combination, Joinder and Severance
    . Overview
    . Combination and Joinder
    . Severance
    (f) Amendment of Applications
    . Overview
    . Party-Initiated Amendments
    . Board-Initiated Amendments
    (g) Withdrawal of Applications
  5. Legal Representation
    (a) Overview
    (b) Contingency Fees by Non-Lawyers
    (c) Contingency Fees by Lawyers
  6. Payments to the Board
    (a) Overview
    (b) Non-payment of Rent Terminations
    (c) Rent Payments to Board During Tenant Repair Application
    (d) Other Payments
    (e) Payment Procedures
  7. Forms, Fees and Documents
    (a) Mandatory Form Use
    (b) Contents
    (c) Email Filing and Service
    (d) Fees and Fee Waivers
  8. Service and Filing of Documents
    (a) Overview
    (b) Service on Parties
    . All Documents
    . Notice of Entry [24-hour Notice]
    . Proving Earlier Service
    . Validating Service
    . Agreed Waiver of Service
    (c) Proving Service (Certificate of Service)
    (d) Filing with the Board
  9. Calculation of Time
    (a) Overview
    (b) Basics
    (c) Holidays and their Effect
    (d) No Waiver or Variance of Counting Rules
    (e) When Extending or Shortening Time Periods is Allowed and Prohibited
    (f) Procedures to Extend or Shorten Time Periods
  10. Summary Dismissal
    (a) Overview
    (b) Summary Refusal and Dismissal of Applications for Cause
    . Overview
    . Frivolous and Vexatious
    . Bad Faith
    . Disclosing No Reasonable Cause of Action
    (c) Additional Summary Dismissal: False or Misleading Documentation
    (d) Documents With Inadequate Content
    (e) Comment
  11. Document Disclosure
    (a) Overview
    (b) Case-by-Case Disclosure
    (c) Disclosure of Electronic Material
  12. Pre-Hearing Conferences
    (a) Overview
    (b) Pre-Hearing Conference
  13. Motions and Interim Orders
    (a) Overview
    (b) Motion-Type Authorities
  14. Adjournments and Scheduling
    (a) Overview
    (b) Pre-Hearing Adjournments of Hearings on Consent
    (c) Adjournments at Hearing
    (d) Adjournment of Case Management Hearings (CMH)

Note Re: Special and Exempt Premises:

Some residential rental premises - such as care homes, mobile home parks, land lease communities, student accomodation, superintendent's premises, social housing, premises under mortgage proceedings - and others - may be exempt from all or part of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), or may be subject to special RTA provisions. Readers may want to review Ch.2: "Special and Exempt Premises" to check if this is the case for their specific premises.

Note Re: Offences

Many breaches of the Residential Tenancies Act are also prosecutable offences. Readers may want to review Ch.17: "Offences" regarding specific breaches.

1. Procedural Source Law

(a) General

Analyzing the procedural rules which govern the conduct of any particular Ontario administrative Tribunal can be a challenging task. Sadly, the situation with the Landlord and Tenant Board (the "Board") is no exception. The Board's procedures are generated from sometimes intricate interactions between any and all of the following primary legal sources:
  • the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA);

  • four Regulations under the RTA;

  • the Statutory Powers Procedures Act (SPPA);

  • Board-made 'Landlord and Tenant Board Specific Rules' and the 'Social Justice Tribunals Ontario Common Rules' [together, the 'LTB Rules'] - and separately, "Practice Directions" [issued under both SPPA and RTA s.176(2,3) authority];

  • Board-made "Interpretation Guidelines" [issued under both SPPA and RTA s.176(2) authority].
Adding to this complexity, though less frequently, are additional sources which may also become involved:
  • Board-made information packages,

  • a multitude of Board-made forms (eg. Notices of Termination and Notices of Application, with embedded "advisory" notes, and much more);

  • Ontario Human Rights Code;

  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It is one of the primary goals of this and all Isthatlegal.ca Legal Guides to bring functional coherence to these varied sources of law in one single, topically organized and link-enriched online form. This is the task of this chapter, at least as all these sources bear on the procedural aspects of residential landlord and tenant practice in Ontario.

(b) The Statutory Powers Procedures Act (SPPA)

The most influential non-RTA legal source is the Statutory Powers Procedures Act (SPPA). This is a sort of "minimum standards" procedural code which applies to most Ontario administrative tribunals which hold hearings involving "statutory powers of decision" (ie. decisions governed or mandated by provincial legislation) where the law requires that a "hearing" (oral, written or electronic) be held. The SPPA is the subject of its own Isthatlegal.ca Legal Guide:

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA) Legal Guide

Unless expressly overridden by other legislation (particularly the RTA), the procedures and rules set out in the SPPA are the Board's procedures.

In addition, the SPPA establishes significant "rule-making" powers which tribunals can use to actually expand their procedural jurisdiction over such things as: written hearings, electronic hearings, alternative dispute resolution, pre-hearing conferences, legal costs and other issues - by the very act of making rules on those subjects. Most of the available rule-making authorities have been used by the Landlord and Tenant Board in the making of its "Rules of Practice" (next discussed).

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA): Ch.10-20: Tribunal Rule-Making Authority

(c) "Landlord and Tenant Board Rules"

. Overview

As noted below, the SPPA - in addition to establishing minimum procedural standards - also grants additional (specific and general) rule-making authorities to the tribunals which it governs, thus creating a non-legislative fourth category of legal document that must be taken into account (after the RTA, the RTA Regulations, and the SPPA). This "rule-making" role of the Board is also expressly mandated in the RTA [s.176(2)].

Taking this authority up enthusiastically, the Board has enacted 26 separate "Landlord and Tenant Board Specific Rules", and 10 "Social Justice Tribunal Ontario Common Rules".

LTB Rules of Practice

. Interpreting the LTB Rules

As I write this 2019 update to the L&T Legal Guide, I had to totally update the Board Rules, which were wholly amended early this year. The 2015 Rule version noted that "in the event of conflict, legislation prevails over the Rules" [Rule 1.2]. The 2019 Rules version doesn't have that anymore. It seemed an unnecessary caution at the time, but you should assume that it does.

Further, the Rules themselves [R1.6] provide that the LTB may order a variety of procedures to achieve "the most expeditious and fair determination of the questions arising in any proceeding the LTB", and that "where something is not provided for in these Rules, the LTB may decide what to do by referring to other provisions" [R1.3].

. Waiver of Rules

The Board may "waive or vary any provision in these Rules" [R1.6].

(d) Board "Interpretation Guidelines" and "Practice Directions"

. Overview

Finally - just to add spice to an otherwise unchallenging task - the Board has created a separate class of 21 "Interpretation Guidelines" which set out its perspective on the substantive (ie. non-procedural) legal issues that it faces in day-to-day adjudication, and 5 "Practice Directions" which are (without a hint of irony) meant "to provide further information about the LTB's practices or procedures" [R1.2].

Thankfully at least, such adopted guidelines are publically-available [Act s.176(5)]:

Board Interpretation Guidelines and Practice Directions

. Comment Re "Interpretation Guidelines"

Very unlike courts, the "administrative" L&T Board (ie. the Chair and Board committees) can - through its' "Interpretation Guidelines" - influence the outcomes of individual cases before "presiding" L&T Boards (ie. individual members hearing cases before them) by the adoption of standard legal positions on various issues that occur or are anticipated to occur before it.

A similar effect can be achieved alternately by virtue of the opinion of the Board's legal counsel, who presiding members may also consult from time to time [Act s.179].

There is a tension between the existence and application of the Interpretation Guidelines and a common law administrative principle called "fettering discretion". Conventionally, "fettering" occurs where any administrative or adjudicative decision-maker adopts fixed positions on legal or factual issues over which it otherwise has an element of discretion in making. The idea is that any discretion, while it must always be exercised 'reasonably in the circumstances', must always be considered afresh in each situation where it arises (for otherwise you do not have "discretion" - but simply another rule).

The adoption of the Interpretation Guidelines by the administrative Board, for no reason other than use by the presiding Board, is then plainly at odds with the principle against fettering discretion. In acknowledgement of their 'non-binding' nature, this note is presently placed at the start of each Interpretation Guideline:
Interpretation Guidelines are intended to assist the parties in understanding the Board's usual interpretation of the law, to provide guidance to Members and promote consistency in decision-making. However, a Member is not required to follow a Guideline and may make a different decision depending on the facts of the case.
(e) Resolving Conflicts between Legal Sources

The overall issue of conflict between law (Acts and Regulations) versus subordinate rules (ie. the LTB Rules) can be quite complex, as is discussed at this Isthatlegal.ca link:

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA) Legal Guide: Ch.1, s.4: Tribunals and Their Rules: Conflict Between Rules

2. Landlord and Tenant Board

(a) Overview

The Landlord and Tenant Board (hereafter the "Board" or the "LTB") has primary adjudicative responsibility for matters governed under Ontario's Residential Tenancies Act ("RTA"). In that sense it is like a court - indeed until about 2000 all non-"rent regulation" L&T matters were still heard by the main trial court level in Ontario - then the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division).

The role of modern Ontario administrative tribunals (which includes the LTB) is discussed further at this Isthatlegal.ca link:

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA): Ch.3: Tribunals

While judges do have some administrative functions (particulary chief judges), "administrative tribunals" such as the Board have more non-adjudicative administrative functions [see (c) below]. For instance, the LTB extends it's reach into the residential L&T relationship even prior to disputes by the mandatory use of its several Board-approved forms for "Notices of Termination" - and Board-approved, legally-mandated "information" sheets and packages that must be given by landlords to tenants at various times.

As well [as per s.1 above], the Board establishes its own LTB Rules respecting general L&T and adjudicative procedures, and "Interpretation Guidelines", respecting the more substantive aspects of the law.

For purposes of analysis, I separate the "administrative" role (the "administrative Board") of the Board from it's more traditional and primary adjudicative role (the "presiding Board") of individual members sitting in judgment over specific cases and parties before it.

(b) Members and Staff

As with most administrative tribunals, members are political appointees by the "Lieutenant Governor in Council" (effectively, the provincial Cabinet of the party in power) [Act s.169(1)]. Such members are commonly - but not always - unsuccessful candidates from the party in power or members coming from other similar tribunals such as the Ontario Municipal Board or the Social Benefits Tribunal. Generally, they are politically connected to the party in power at the time of their initial appointment though there is a good deal of cross-party "professionalization" through the larger tribunal system.

There is a Chairperson, and any number of vice-chairs, also politically appointed [Act s.170(1)]. The Chair acts as chief executive officer of the Board [Act s.170(3)]. The Chair may appoint vice-chairs to act during their absence or incapacity [Act s.170(2)].

The bulk of the "behind the scenes" work is done by paid staff appointed under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 [Act s.178]. The Board may also engage non-staff "professional, technical, administrative or other assistance" from time to time - and on such terms - as it shall offer [Act s.179].

(c) Administrative Board

The administrative tasks of the Board are several, and focus centrally on the Chairperson. They include:
  • the establishment of a "Rules and Guidelines Committee" amongst the members, headed by the Chair, that shall prepare and adopt rules [the "LTB Rules"] and guidelines [the "Interpretation Guidelines"] [Act s.2(1), s.176(1)(2)] by a majority vote of members of the Committee, subject to veto by the Chair of any individual proposed rule or guideline [Act s.176(4)]. Such Rules and Guidelines shall be (and are) publically-available [Act s.176(5)].

  • the Chair establishing "conflict of interest guidelines or rules of conduct" used to assess potential conflict situations of members regarding particular applications before the Board [Act s.172];

  • to provide reports to the Minister in addition to the annual report required by the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act, 2009. [Act s.180];

  • where required under the RTA, to "provide information to landlords and tenants about their rights and obligations under this Act." [Act s.177] [see Ch.3, s.2(b): Tenant Rights, Responsibilities and Remedies: General Rights and Responsibilities: Documentation on Commencement of Tenancy"];

  • the establishment of publically-available fee schedules, approved by the Minister, for Board services respecting [Act s.181]:

    - filing applications and reviews;

    - copying file and other materials held by the Board;

    - "other services provided by the Board".
As well of course, it is the responsibility of the administrative Board to maintain case files of applications filed with it [SPPA s.20].

(d) Presiding Board

. Quorums and Panels

Application hearings may be conducted by one or more members of the Board (one is typical) [Act s.171].

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA): Ch.3: General SPPA Rules: Tribunals
[see s.4 "Quorum" and s.5 "Constitution of Panels"]

. Conflict of Interest, Bias and Member Conduct

A "conflict of interest" is where a Board member has a personal interest in the subject-matter of the proceedings, typically a financial or familial relationship.

In case an application arises that could involve a member in a conflict of interest, they are required to "file with the Board a written declaration of any interests they have in residential rental property". Any such situations will be assessed by the Chair under the "conflict of interest guidelines or rules of conduct" that they may establish (above) [Act s.172]. Where a "conflict of interest" is deemed to be present, that member will not be assigned to the particular case.

The LTB is one of several tribunals included in the overarching Social Justice Tribunal Ontario (SJTO). The SJT has established a complaint process: SJT Complaint Process.

If a conflict is discovered after the proceeding commences, the matter should be re-heard afresh before a different member or members.

"Bias" refers to more general (almost political) pre-existing inclinations of Board members. For instance, if a Board member made a disparaging remark about welfare recipients (as a class) in past, and faces an application where they must assess the credibility of a party involving their welfare income status, that is good evidence of "bias". The standard for requiring reconsideration of a Decision for "bias" is lower than for conflict of interest. A Decision may be sent back to be re-done if only the "appearance" of bias is present. This standard reflects a policy of wanting fairness not only to be served, but to be seen to be served.

"Bias" is a common issue alleged against judges, though less so "conflict of interest": Latest Word Bias and Conflict of Interest.

. Expiry of Member's Term During Proceeding and Incapacity of a Member

If a member's term of office expires before a decision is made in a particular case, their office is deemed to extend for four weeks, but only so they can complete hearing and deciding the case [Act s.173]. Note that this provision expressly overrides a similar provision in the SPPA [s.4.3] that does the same, but without the 4 week restriction.

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA): Ch.3, s.7: Tribunals: Incapacity of a Member

(e) Dealing with the Board

It is a basic rule of legal adjudication that - unless otherwise directly invited by the Board to do so - no communications should be made directly to the presiding Board unless made in the presence of all the other parties (ie. during a hearing).

Procedural communications outside of a hearing should be simply sent to 'the Board' (with the file number), and as well copied to all the other parties at the same time.

(f) Dispute Resolution Officers (DROs) and Hearing Officers

With the 2019 LTB Rules, a novel category of LTB functionary was noted: the "Dispute Resolution Officer" (DRO). Unlike the 'Hearing Officer' which is a creation of statute (below) the DRO is born of the Rules [R1.1]. And the two can interact - ie. a DRO may be appointed to act as a Hearing Officer. DROs have Rule-based roles in mediation, pre-hearing conferences or case management hearings (CMH).

Hearing Officers were created in 2011. Unlike board members, hearing officers are Board employees, not Cabinet appointees [Act 206.1(1)]. Hearings officers, acting within the below-described circumstances, are acting as delegates of the Board [Act 206.1(3)]:
  • where "the respondent does not appear at the time scheduled for the hearing";

  • with respect to any application where the LTB Rules authorize them to act.
The LTB rule on hearing officers provide that [R1.7]:
In addition to the powers provided for in the RTA, a LTB Hearing Officer may hold a hearing and make an order for:

. any landlord application about arrears of rent, or

. any application where the parties have consented to the terms of the order.
When acting in properly-designated roles hearing officers have the usual powers of Board members, including the power to hold hearings and make orders [Act 206.1(2,4)]. Such powers may be limited by regulation [Act 241(1)(68.1)] but as of 01 November 2019 no such regulations have been made.

3. Board Jurisdiction

(a) Overview

"Jurisdiction" has several aspects. Essentially though it delineates a legal entity's decision-making authority over: parties, subject-matter, law, geography (venue), timeframes, and remedies. These are - roughly - the legal versions of "who, what, why, where, when and how", and they are discussed in turn below.

Where matters are not within the Board's jurisdiction they may fall into the "plenary" (full) jurisdiction of the common law courts - an issue which largely depends on the precise wording of the involved legislative provisions. This issue is also discussed extensively in Ch.16: "Civil Remedies".

(b) Parties

. Overview

The primary legal process of the Board is the "application". The "parties" in most applications before the Board will be a landlord and a tenant, but they can also include any "other persons directly affected by the application" [Act s.187(1)]. In various circumstances additional parties might include sub-tenants or assignees [see Ch.1, s.5], spouses of tenants [see Ch.1, s.4], executors and administrators of the estates of deceased tenants, and (non-tenant) "occupants" of the premises [see Ch.1, s.5(f)].

Generally (not always), "parties" are entitled to: notice of the proceedings, the rights to call evidence and cross-examine opposing witnesses, and the making of legal submissions summarizing the case from their perspective.

The Board has a general power to "add or remove parties" from an application as it "considers appropriate". Use of this authority should be based on the common law principle that persons should be parties to a matter if they have a significant interest in it (and not if they don't). Note that this power is distinct from (but can be very similar in effect to) the joining of one or more tenants (or landlords) within one application as is discussed in s.4(f): "Combination, Joinder and Severance", below.

. Jurisdictional Effect of Tenant's Loss of Possession

One aspect of the Board's 'party' jurisdiction over tenants is that when a tenant moves out of the subject premises (by whatever means), then by that act they are no longer 'tenants' and (generally) the Board loses jurisdiction over them.

Exceptions to this rule are where the RTA expressly refers to "former tenants", as is the case in the following situations (there are several more not listed here):
  • tenant rights applications [Act s.29; see Ch.3: "Tenant Rights, Responsibilities and Remedies"];

  • landlord duties with respect to abandoned chattel property [Act s.41; see Ch.8, s.4: "Other Terminations Procedures: Tenant Property"];

  • former tenant applications where Notice of Termination alleged to have been given in bad faith [Act s.57; see Ch.5: "Regular Landlord Terminations"];

  • tenant application where landlord unreasonably withheld consent to assignment or sublet [Act s.98; see Ch.1, s.5: "Fundamentals: Subletting, Assignment and Similar Arrangements"].
A related issue is 'abandonment'. When a tenant who is in arrears of rent, [Act s.2(3)] leaves rented premises without themselves or the landlord having given a Notice of Termination to the other - and not subsequent to an Agreement to Terminate [see s.3(c), below] - then they have "abandoned" the premises [Ch.4, s.1(c): 'Abandonment'].

. Effect of Default in Payment of "Fine, Fee or Costs" to the Board

In some cases the Board has authority to order administrative "fines" against parties [eg. Act s.31(1)(d)], the payment of another party's filing fees (to the Board) and legal costs against a party [see Ch.14, s.6(d): "Hearings, Orders and Enforcement: Decisions, Reasons and Final Orders: Final Orders"]. The Board has jurisdiction to refuse or suspend applications filed by parties who have been ordered by the Board to pay to the board (not amongst parties) "fine, fee or costs" - and who are in default of payment of such amounts [Act s.196(1)].

Note that such amounts do not include monies ordered paid in trust to the Board, held as potential later pay-outs to a party when the matter is resolved [Act s.196(2)].

The wording of this Act provision suggests that the Board will not itself police such default: ie. "(u)pon receiving information that an applicant owes money to the Board" [Act s.196(1)]. Therefore this is a tactical oppourtunity by any party who has knowledge of such default.

Different consequences (as governed by the Rules) apply depending on when in the application process information regarding the default comes to the attention of the Board, as follows [Act 196(1), R6]:
  • Before Filing

    If the information is received before or on day of Application, it shall be refused for filing "unless the issues raised in the new application are urgent". Non-urgent applications include these [R6.1-6.2]:

    • an application for termination and eviction for rent arrears;
    • an application for payment of rent arrears;
    • an application for termination and eviction for non-payment of housing charges; and
    • an application about maintenance if the tenant is no longer in possession of the rental unit.

  • After Filing but Before Hearing

    If the information is received after the Application is filed but before "a hearing is held", the Board shall stay (suspend) the application "on notice to the parties that all amounts owing must be paid to the LTB within 15 days of the date of the notice", and if the fees remain outstanding after 15 days "the application will be discontinued and any mediation or hearing dates will be cancelled" [R6.3].

  • After Hearing Starts but before Ruling

    If the information is received after a hearing has begun or before an order has been issued, the Board shall stay the order "on notice to the parties that all amounts owing must be paid to the LTB within 15 days of the date of the notice", and if the fees remain outstanding after 15 days "the application will be discontinued unless doing so would be inappropriate in the particular circumstances" [R6.4].
On discontinuance the application fee will not be refunded [R6.5].

(c) Subject-Matter

Whenever a new tribunal arises (or re-arises if there was one before) it almost invariably hives jurisdiction from the courts, courts which in Ontario otherwise have 'plenary' (full) jurisdiction. The issue then arises how that jurisdiction is spread between the courts and the tribunal. Sometimes it shares that jurisdiction, allowing parties to decide which body is most convenient or affordable. Sometimes it draws 'clear bright lines' between jurisdictions, allowing rights to be advanced in only before the tribunal. These issues are discussed more in Ch.16, s.1 ["Civil Remedies: Overview"].

The RTA mostly adopts an exclusive jurisdictional line, leaving authority for all RTA-created rights with the LTB:
The Board has exclusive jurisdiction to determine all applications under this Act and with respect to all matters in which jurisdiction is conferred on it by this Act.
That holds true where the monetary jurisdiction of the case is within that of the Small Claims Court [$25,000 at 01 November 2019, due to rise to $35,000 01 January 2020], but beyond that such cases are relegated to the civil courts [Act 207(2)]:
A person entitled to apply under this Act but whose claim exceeds the Board’s monetary jurisdiction may commence a proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction for an order requiring the payment of that sum and, if such a proceeding is commenced, the court may exercise any powers that the Board could have exercised if the proceeding had been before the Board and within its monetary jurisdiction.
As with other tribunals, delegation of exclusive jurisdiction to the LTB can have the effect of diminishing procedural rights (which are at their highest in the courts).

(d) Law

When dealing with subject-matter governed by the RTA, the Board does have broad authority to consider all required law and fact to make a just resolution of the matter (including human rights law, a much-vexed issue before other tribunals):
The Board has authority to hear and determine all questions of law and fact with respect to all matters within its jurisdiction under this Act.
It may seem self-evident that any adjudicative body in the country is bound to interpret and apply all the laws of the land in its decisions, but that is not always the case.

The Supreme Court of Canada - in a case involving the Board's sister tribunal, the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT), Tranchemontagne v Ontario (Director, Disability Support Program) [2006] 1 SCR 513 - recently and finally resolved a long-standing interpretive restriction on the SBT's authority to consider and apply the substantive law of the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC). That prohibition had been consistently upheld by the SBT and lower courts for years, to the great detriment of impoverished social assistance-recipient applicants who faced both the expense of additional legal proceedings, a travesty compounded by the near paralysis of the Human Rights Commission caused by decades of mismanagement.

Thankfully, the Landlord and Tenant Board appears free from such artificial and obstructionist prohibitions. This jurisdiction is broad enough to encompass both Human Rights Code law and all-important Charter of Rights and Freedoms law as well. There is little doubt that the Board will be held under conventional Charter doctrine to be a "court of competent jurisdiction" as required by Charter s.24(1).

(e) Geographical Jurisdiction

Given the legislative competence of the Ontario legislature, it is implicit that the Board may hear any matters before it where the subject premises are located in Ontario.

Local office jurisdiction is similarly geographically defined by Ontario regions:

LTB Office Locations

(f) Time and Jurisdiction

The temporal form of a jurisdictional limit is a "limitation period".

Scattered throughout the legislation (and the Legal Guide) by topic are various "limitation periods" - which condition the availability of applications to the Board. For example - generally - all applications to terminate and evict must be brought to the Board within 30 days after the date of termination specified in the Notice of Termination [Act s.69(2) [except for non-payment of rent terminations: Act s.69(3)]. After that time - generally - the landlord will (if they still can) have to issue a new Notice of Termination, significantly delaying proceedings.

Some time limits are subject to modification (extension or shortening) by the Board [Act s.190(1); see s.9(e-f): "Calculation of Time" below re extending and shortening timeframes].

Parties seeking a monetary remedy which is barred by an RTA limitation period should also review Ch.16: "Civil Remedies", to see if there is any potential to seek remedies in the regular civil courts. It is not certain (but highly likely) that non-monetary remedies (ie. termination and eviction) are not available through the civil courts if the landlord has missed an RTA limitation period.

(g) Remedies

. Overview

The RTA establishes a broad and variable range of "remedies" which it may order on the Application of a party. These are scattered throughout the legislation (and the program) in relation to the various topics to which they relate, and must be reviewed carefully as per your individual fact situation.

The most typical Board orders are those for termination of a tenancy, eviction, and monetary compensation - however the Board has broad authority to "include in an order whatever conditions it considers fair in the circumstances" [Act s.204(1)].

The topic of remedial jurisdiction is closely associated with that of "orders", which readers should review below [s.14, s.6: "Hearings, Orders and Enforcement: Decisions, Reasons and Final Orders"]. Specific topics such as costs, interest, instalments payments etc are discussed there.

. Termination

The remedy of "termination" is what - in the civil courts - would be called a "declaration" of rights, or more specifically a legal declaration that the tenancy agreement is "terminated" (as are any further responsibilities under it by the parties, similar to 'rescission' of a contract). That is why - when a landlord makes an application to 'get rid of' an "unauthorized occupant" (for example, an unconsented-to 'assignee'), the only Board order needed is one for "eviction" - as there never was a tenancy agreement in the first place, there is no need to "terminate" it [see Ch.8, s.1: "Other Termination Procedures: Unauthorized Occupancy".]
Case Note: Fraser v Beach (Ont CA, 2005)

Fraser v Beach (Ont CA, 2005) was decided under the old Tenant Protection Act (TPA), though it's principles are equally applicable under the RTA. The court was faced with an appeal by tenants of an illegal rooming house of a Superior Court injunction against it's operators to close it down. The tenants were not party to the original proceedings but a subsequent Tribunal application brought against them to terminate and evict was dismissed. The neighbours, the moving parties in the original injunction, then sought and obtained an order within the original Superior Court proceedings - and on notice to the tenants - that the tenants must vacate. It was this order that the tenant's appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal granted to tenant's appeal, citing numerous TPA provisions that the Board had exclusive jurisdiction to terminate and evict tenants. These provisions are quoted below, as their currrent RTA counterparts:
TPA 39(1) [now RTA 37(1)]
A tenancy may be terminated only in accordance with this Act.

TPA 41(b) [now RTA 39(b)]
A landlord shall not recover possession of a rental unit subject to a tenancy unless, ....

(b) an order of the Tribunal evicting the tenant has authorized the possession.

TPA 157(2) [now RTA 168(2)]
The Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to determine all applications under this Act and with respect to all matters in which jurisdiction is conferred on it by this Act.

TPA 2(1) [now RTA 3(1)]
This Act applies with respect to rental units in residential complexes, despite any other Act and despite any agreement or waiver to the contrary.
The court suggested that the neighbours' remedy lay in pressing the landlords to retry their Tribunal application, and that their failure to actively and in good faith do this could be deal with as a contempt issue within the injunction proceedings. The court further suggested that the neighbours seek nuisance remedies targetted at specific problematic behaviour.

Note that this case did not involve an appeal of a Board order, so that the TPA 196 (4) [now RTA 210(5)] - which would have granted the court termination and eviction jurisdiction - was not engaged.
. Eviction

An order for "eviction" (as it is now called) has been known for well over a hundred years as a "writ of possession", an historic form of enforcement proceeding. The shift to modern language is welcome, although actual enforcement proceedings still use the older language [Act s.85].

An eviction order, when properly filed with the sheriff, legally authorizes them to physicially remove the tenant from the premises. Eviction enforcement procedures are discussed in Ch.14, s.7(c): "Hearings, Orders and Enforcement: Enforcement and Stays of Enforcement: Eviction".

. Monetary Compensation

The Board's monetary compensation jurisdiction is limited to the greater of $10,000 or the Small Claims Court monetary jurisdiction limit [which at 01 November 2019 was $25,000, due to rise to $35,000 on 01 Jan 2020] [Act s.207(1)].

Where monetary compensation above that amount is sought, the party must proceed through the regular courts [Act s.207(2)] [see Ch.16: "Civil Remedies"]. However a party cannot "split" a claim between both the Board and the court - so when the Board issues a monetary compensation order for one cause of action, recourse to the court for that same cause for any additional amounts is barred [Act s.207(3)].

If the Board finds that the value of a claim is less than $5.00 no order will be made [Act s.207(4); Reg s.58].

The Board, when ordering monetary compensation, is also required to "set out in the order the principal sum, and if interest is payable, the rate of interest and the date from which it is to be calculated". [SPPA s.17(2)].

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Last modified: 19-01-23
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