Policy on Postponements/Adjournments

1. Purpose: The present policy outlines the procedure for requesting the postponement of a scheduled hearing. Scheduling a time and a place for a hearing involves many complexities for a Tribunal such as the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada. The Tribunal's caseload, the geographically widespread area where its hearings are held, the bilingual community it serves, the availability of its part-time members, the types of hearings it holds (private and public) and, in some cases, its statutory obligation to schedule forthwith render postponements and adjournments unlikely. The Tribunal will consider every postponement request but will not necessarily grant it even in cases where neither party opposes it.

2. Definitions: The following definition applies in this policy.

            2.1 Party to a proceeding: The applicant, appellant or respondent to a proceeding.

3. Legal Authority: The many transportation acts under which the Tribunal has jurisdiction state that the Tribunal shall determine a time and place for all review and appeal hearings and notify both parties in writing.

4. Requesting a postponement:

4.1 If a party wishes to postpone a hearing, they may submit a request to the Tribunal by way of a letter or e-mail.

4.2 The letter or email requesting the postponement should include the following:

-        The reason(s) for requesting a postponement;

-        The currently-scheduled hearing date;

-        If the Tribunal has previously allowed for a postponement of that hearing.

4.3 Upon receipt of the request, the Tribunal will contact the other party and determine whether they agree with, or oppose, the postponement requested. If the other party opposes the postponement request, they must provide written reasons.

4.4 The Tribunal will then take the parties' positions under consideration and decide whether the postponement should be granted.

4.5 Consideration of a request for postponement does not mean that the request will automatically be granted, even where all parties give their consent.

4.6 If the postponement is granted, the Tribunal will advise both parties of the new date for the hearing.

4.7 If the postponement is not granted, parties will be expected to be present on the date of the hearing. If a party is not present at the hearing, the Tribunal may proceed in their absence. An applicant that does not appear at the review hearing loses the right to appeal the review determination unless the said party establishes that there was sufficient reason to justify the absence.

4.8 No postponement will be granted within two weeks of the scheduled hearing date unless the party requesting the adjournment demonstrates that exceptional circumstances require it. If through exceptional circumstances the hearing cannot be attended by a party, the Tribunal should be contacted immediately.

4.9 The Tribunal may, unilaterally and on its own accord, determine that a postponement is necessary.