Online Mediations and Hearings for Human Rights Complaints (6:IX)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 1, 2023.

A. Online Hearings

1. The BC HRT

Within recent years, the BC HRT has begun conducting hearings remotely using Microsoft Teams (“Teams”). Online hearings via Microsoft Teams are set up using email addresses, and one week before the hearing, all parties must provide contact information for anyone attending the hearing on their side. This includes any party, lawyer, advocate, agent, or witness participating in the hearing. The day before the hearing begins, the Tribunal will email each person a link to join.

Each party must give copies of any document they want to have entered as an exhibit to all other parties and the Tribunal before the hearing. The Tribunal Member hearing your case will discuss this with you during the hearing readiness conference.

Typically, you will need to attend any hearing held on Teams using a computer. In exceptional cases you may use a smartphone, subject to the presiding Tribunal Member’s discretion. Ensure that all participants to the hearing have a way to attend. If you have technical issues using Microsoft Teams that prevent you from joining the hearing, contact the Tribunal’s designated contact person, which is stated in the email with the link to the hearing.

Hearing etiquette is similar to in person proceedings. Cameras must be on at all times, and you may only speak if you are making an argument or submission, questioning a witness, or giving testimony.

2. The CHRT

Similar to the BC HRT, hearings and mediations under the CHRT are also being conducted remotely, using videoconference or telephone. The CHRT will send a notice of the hearing or mediation to the parties as soon as practicable, with information such as the time, link, and information about the event. Regarding documentation, the mediator, the member or the panel will provide more specific instructions about electronic filing of documents for each case.

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