A hearing is where you and the BCSPCA present your issues, evidence (including witnesses), arguments and desired outcomes to a panel of up to three BCFIRB members.
In general, hearings will be held by telephone, with the opportunity to provide written submissions ahead of time.
Hearings will be scheduled by BCFIRB staff no more than 19 days from the date all the requirements forof an appeal are met.
A BCFIRB hearing is intended to be less formal than a court hearing; however, the BCFIRB panel will follow certain steps to ensure the hearing is fair and well-organized.
Review Preparing for a Hearing for more details.
The BCFIRB panel chair will introduce the panel members, and ask the parties to introduce themselves. The Chair will outline the matters under appeal and the statutory authority under which BCFIRB hears the appeal.
You will be given the opportunity to make a brief opening statement to the panel, describing the issue under appeal, and your proposed solution. The BCSPCA will then have an opportunity to do the same.
You will have the opportunity to present your evidence to the panel. You can also present documents, and/or have other people appear as witnesses.
The BCSPCA will have the same opportunity to present evidence.
The chair will ask you, the representatives of the BCSPCA and all witnesses to promise to tell the truth.
When evidence is presented, either by you, the BCSPCA, or witnesses, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. The BCFIRB panel may also ask questions.
Note: The purpose of this step is to simply present evidence. It is not to argue how the evidence may or may not help your case. Arguments will be made in the next step (Closing)
In this part of the hearing, you will have an opportunity to argue why you disagree with the BCSPCA decision, based on the evidence that was presented. When making your arguments, you should clearly identify what remedies you would like from BCFIRB.
When you are done, the BCSPCA will be given the opportunity to make its closing arguments
The panel will not provide a decision at the hearing. The panel will meet after the hearing, and will prepare a written decision for release within approximately ten (10) days of the hearing. The time will depend on the length and complexity of the case. Read more about Appeal Decisions
BCFIRB posts all of its decisions online
A settlement agreement is one alternative to a formal hearing. At any time during the appeal process, you or the BCSPCA may ask BCFIRB to explore the potential for settlement of all or part of an appeal.
A formal hearing always remains an option, even during facilitation or mediation focused on reaching a settlement agreement, until you withdraw your appeal.
BCFIRB staff can assist in several ways, including, but not limited to:
- Connecting parties with appropriate experts
- Facilitating communication between you and the BCSPCA
- Drafting a settlement agreement
Proceedings before BCFIRB are public in nature. They result in written decisions which are published on our website. All persons testifying before BCFIRB are advised that their identities, any testimony given or documents received may be disclosed. BCFIRB may order that the information be withheld from publication if it was received in confidence and/or it was received through an in camera process: see s. 61 of the Administrative Tribunals Act.