Public commenting period for proposed updates to the Rules of Procedure of the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal

ERO number
Notice type
Posted by
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Notice stage
Proposal posted
Comment period
February 5, 2021 - March 8, 2021 (30 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:

February 5, 2021
to March 8, 2021

Proposal summary

We want to modernize the Rules of Procedure for the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal to make them easier for parties to understand and follow, and to streamline proceeding processes.

Proposal details

The Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal ("AFRAAT" or “Tribunal”) is an independent adjudicative agency of the government of Ontario. Constituted under section 14 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act, the mandate of the Tribunal is to provide an independent, accessible avenue of appeal on a variety of agricultural issues under the following provincial statutes and have them heard by an impartial and knowledgeable tribunal: the Agricultural Employees Protection Act, 2002; the Agricultural Products Insurance Act, 1996; the Agricultural Tile Drainage Installation Act; the Animals for Research Act; the Animal Health Act, 2009; the Assessment Act; the Beef Cattle Marketing Act; the Commodity Board Members Act; the Drainage Act; the Farm Implements Act; the Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act, 1993; the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001; the Grains Act; the Livestock Community Sales Act; the Livestock and Livestock Products Act; the Livestock Medicines Act; and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act (for appeals of decisions made under the Farm Products Marketing Act and Milk Act).

An appellant may be a landowner, a producer, a processor, a consumer, an employee, a transporter, a dealer, a manufacturer, a distributor, an unincorporated association or any other person or group of individuals who has a statutory right to appeal or make application to the Tribunal.

The Tribunal has its own Rules of Procedure which govern proceedings before the "AFRAAT", in conjunction with several pieces of provincial legislation. The Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure were last updated in June 2006. The Tribunal is proposing changes to its Rules of Procedure and is seeking comments from the public.

The key proposed changes to the Rules of Procedure include:  

  • Removing the rules regarding reviews – parties would not be able to ask for a review of a decision, but instead could proceed directly to an appeal or judicial review if they are dissatisfied with the decision. The authority to correct errors will remain.
  • Adding rules to account for the Tribunal Adjudicative Records Act that provides for presumptive public access to adjudicative records. A fee structure is included at rule 10. The authority and test for the tribunal to order documents sealed from the public record remains essentially the same.
  • Clarifying the authority and requirements for holding written and electronic hearings
  • Adding rules for dismissal without a hearing, dismissal for abandoned matters, and not processing an appeal that is incomplete.
  • Service by email.
  • Act-specific rules moved to the relevant rule
  • Clarifying the rights and responsibilities of a party, and adding the notion of a “participant” that can be a witness or make a presentation, but that has limited rights and responsibilities
  • Modernizing the French language services rule.
  • Removing interrogatories (oral questioning before a transcriptionist where parties are able to ask questions of one another and where the Tribunal members are not present)
  • Re-organizing the rules regarding disclosure and orders for particulars for ease of reference.
  • Removing statements regarding panel recordings not being available. Instead, if a recording is requested, it is provided with a caution and disclaimer.

Supporting materials

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Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from February 5, 2021
to March 8, 2021

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