The Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal is a local five-member board of the City of Toronto. The Tribunal was established under the authority of the City of Toronto Act and is conducted in accordance with the Statutory Powers Procedure Act. The chair and two panel members are present during a hearing. The panel listens to appeals of dangerous dog orders issued under section 15.1 of the Animals Bylaw .
The Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal is established under the City of Toronto Act, 2006 and is governed by Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 349, Animals.
The Tribunal operates with the rules set out in the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, 1990.
The Tribunal consists of five public members appointed by City Council through the City’s Public Appointments process. City Council appoints the Tribunal’s Chair from among its members.
The Tribunal will determine the following:
The Tribunal has the authority to confirm the determination of a dangerous dog and uphold the dangerous dog order or rescind it and exempt the owner from all requirements of the order. The Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to exempt an owner from some or part of the requirements on a dangerous dog order.
The grounds of appeal are limited and the dog’s behaviour after the act is not considered during the appeal process.
The owner of a dog who is issued a dangerous dog order may request a hearing to appeal the order. The owner must submit an appeal as required by the Animals Bylaw.
A request for a hearing must be in writing and be mailed or delivered to the address that is listed on the order within 30 days of the issuance of the dangerous dog order. Owners must submit the applicable appeal fee and their written request must include:
Although a request for a hearing may be made, the order to comply (requirements) takes effect once the order is served and remain in effect until a hearing is held, and the Tribunal decides if the designation of a dangerous dog is confirmed or rescinded.
At an appeal hearing, both the dog owner and the City are welcome to present evidence. All documents and evidence must be disclosed to the other party and Tribunal no later than 14 days prior to the hearing. If a party fails to disclose a document or discloses it late, the Tribunal may disallow the document from being entered into evidence.
Hearings before the Tribunal are public and documents provided to the Tribunal will be made available upon request.
What to Expect at a Hearing
Although there are some similarities, the Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal hearing is different from a court hearing or trial. The purpose of a hearing is to determine whether the dangerous dog order was issued in accordance with the Animals Bylaw. The City and the dog owner will have provided the Tribunal with copies of all documents and evidence.
The only two possible outcomes of a hearing are:
Parties appearing before the Tribunal are free to arrange for legal counsel, but this is optional, not required. If a party has been given a notice of a hearing and does not attend, the Tribunal may proceed in the absence of that party.
The Tribunal may provide their decision at the time of the hearing or provide a written decision within 15 days to both the dog owner and the City. The City will provide a copy of the letter to the victim or victim dog owner.
A. As set out in section 349-16 of Chapter 349, Animals, of the City of Toronto Municipal Code, a Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal is established for the City of Toronto.
B. The Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) will conduct itself in accordance with the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.22, as amended.
C. Pursuant to section 25.1 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, the Tribunal adopts these Rules of Procedure (the “Rules”) for governing the practices and procedures before it.
D. The Code of Conduct for Members of Adjudicative Boards City of Toronto applies to Members of the Tribunal.
E. The responsibilities of the Tribunal include:
1. Hearing appeals from dog owners who are served with an order to comply and may:
a. Confirm the determination of a dangerous dog; or
b. Rescind the determination of a dangerous dog order and exempt the owner from compliance with section 349-15.1
F. In deciding whether or not to confirm or rescind the determination of a dangerous dog, the Tribunal may consider whether the dog was acting in self-defence when the dangerous act leading to the order to comply under section 349-15 occurred.
The Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal of the City of Toronto hereby enacts the following:
All terms defined in Chapter 349, Animals, of the City of Toronto Municipal Code, as amended from time to time, shall have the same meaning in the Rules, unless otherwise defined below.
In these Rules, unless the context requires otherwise, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
“applicant”: the dog owner who submits a notice in writing requesting a hearing for review of an order to comply issued under section 349-15 of Chapter 349.
“Chapter 349”: Chapter 349, Animals, of the City of Toronto Municipal Code.
“Confirmation of Hearing Request”: Acknowledgement of receipt by the Tribunal Secretary of the dog owner’s notice in writing requesting a hearing, which is submitted in accordance with section 349-16 of Chapter 349.
“Dangerous Dog”: A dog that has been determined to be a dangerous dog pursuant to section 349 and that determination has not been rescinded pursuant to section 349-16 of Chapter 349.
“Executive Director”: The Executive Director of the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division of the City of Toronto or any person under their authority.
“hearing”: that part of the proceeding before the Tribunal where evidence or submissions are heard:
“oral hearing” means a hearing or part of a hearing during which the parties or their representative(s) attend in person or electronically before the Tribunal. Any electronic hearing shall comply with the City of Toronto Act, 2006, Statutory Powers and Procedure Act and electronic hearing requirements and operational guidelines adopted by the Tribunal.
“interested person”: means a) the person who claims to have been bitten by the dog and includes that person’s legal guardian; or b) where a domestic animal has been bitten, the owner of the domestic animal. For greater certainty, an interested person does not have party status before the Tribunal.
“panel”: a hearing panel of the Tribunal.
“party”: includes the applicant and the respondent.
“person”: includes a corporation, partnership, agent or trustee, or other legal representatives of a person to whom the context can apply according to law, and the entities included within the meaning of a person in the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.22, as amended.
“proceeding”: a matter brought before the Tribunal under Chapter 349.
“representative”: legal counsel or agent who is authorized by law to represent a person in the proceeding;
“respondent”: the City of Toronto, as represented by the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards;
“Rules”: the Rules of Procedure as set out in this document, which may be amended from time to time; and
“Tribunal”: The Dangerous Dog Order Review Tribunal of the City of Toronto.
“Tribunal Secretary”: the City Clerk or designate who processes appeals, sets meeting times, dates and locations, records the minute of the meeting, distributes agenda material, keeps the records of the Tribunal and provides procedural advice.
2. Application of the Rules of Procedure
2.1 The Rules apply to all proceedings before the Tribunal.
2.2 If these Rules do not provide for a matter of procedure that arises during a proceeding, the Tribunal may do whatever is necessary and permitted by law to enable it to effectively and completely adjudicate on the matter before it. The Tribunal may issue such direction(s) as it considers necessary for the disposition of any such matter.
2.3 In order to secure the just determination of any matter, the Tribunal may, at any time, waive or vary any of these Rules, including extending or abridging any time limits prescribed by these Rules, with the exception of Rule 3.3, on such terms and conditions as the Tribunal considers appropriate.
2.4 A failure to comply with these Rules is an irregularity and does not render a proceeding or a step, document, order, or decision in a proceeding a nullity. In such a case, the Tribunal may grant all necessary amendments or other relief, including the setting aside of a proceeding or a step, document, order, or decision in the proceeding on such terms as the Tribunal may determine.
3. Commencement of Processing
3.1 Unless otherwise provided in these Rules or in a governing statute, a proceeding must be commenced by a notice in writing which shall:
(i) identify the applicant by name, telephone number and address including the postal code;
(ii) identify the name, address and telephone number of any agent, representative, or lawyer representing the applicant;
(iii) contain a statement of the reason(s) for the appeal and nature of the relief sought; and
(iv) subject to Rule 18.2, indicate whether an interpreter is required.
3.2 As required by section 349-16C of Chapter 349, the notice described in Rule 3.1 must be mailed or delivered to the Tribunal Secretary within thirty (30) days after a copy of an order to comply is served on the owner.
3.3 The Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to hear a matter in which the notice requesting the hearing is not filed within the time limit set out in section 349-16C of Chapter 349. The Tribunal also does not have jurisdiction to extend the time limit set out in paragraph 349-16C.
4. Notice of Hearing
4.1 Notice of a hearing before the Tribunal shall be given in writing to all parties.
5.1 Where any document is required to be served upon a party to a proceeding, including for commencing that proceeding, service can be made by:
(ii) Regular, registered or certified mail to the last known address of the person or their representative.
(iii) Email, where the person or party receiving the document has provided an email address.
5.2 Service is deemed to be effective:
(i) By fax, on the day after it was sent, unless that day is a holiday, in which case the copy shall be deemed to be received on the next day that is not a holiday.
(ii) By mail, on the fifth day after the document is mailed; or
(iii) By email, on the day after it was sent, unless that day is a holiday, in which case the copy shall be deemed to be received on the next day that is not a holiday.
6. Amendment of Documents
6.1 Unless otherwise ordered by the Tribunal or unless the parties consent, no document filed with the Tribunal may be amended after it is filed.
7.1 The Tribunal may, at any stage in a proceeding, make such orders as it considers necessary for:
(i) the exchange of documents;
(ii) the exchange of witness statements;
(iii) the provision of particulars; and/or
(iv) any other form of disclosure
7.2 Parties shall, no later than 14 days prior to the date of the hearing, serve on all parties a copy of every document or relevant portions of documents they intend to rely on or produce in the hearing.
7.3 Parties shall, no later than 14 days prior to the date of the hearing, file with the Tribunal Secretary a copy of every document or relevant portions of documents they intend to rely on or produce in the hearing.
7.4 Where a party fails to serve a document in accordance with Rule 7.2 or file a document in accordance with Rule 7.3, the Tribunal may still allow the document to be entered into evidence where the Panel hears submissions from the parties on such a late allowance and may make such other orders as it deems appropriate in the circumstances.
7.5 A party may examine any document filed with the Tribunal.
8.1 Any party may appear at or participate in a hearing before the Board in their own capacity or by way of a representative.
8.2 Any notice that is given to a representative is deemed to have been given to the party for whom the representative acts.
8.3 Where a representative ceases to act for a party in the proceeding, the party or the representative shall promptly notify the Tribunal and other parties in writing.
8.4 The representative shall provide the Tribunal with a current business address including postal code, telephone and fax numbers, and email address for the representative.
9. Hearing Dates and Locations
9.1 The Tribunal shall hold an inaugural meeting on a date and time following the appointment of its members.
9.2 Hearing dates and times and location(s) will be determined by the Tribunal Secretary.
9.3 With the consent of all parties, the Tribunal Secretary may re-schedule or change the hearing date, time or location of a hearing which has already been scheduled.
10. Tribunal Chair
10.1 If the Tribunal chair resigns as a member of the Tribunal or resigns as the chair of the Tribunal, the Tribunal shall appoint another member as acting chair until a new chair is appointed by City Council.
11. Tribunal Panels
11.1 The Tribunal chair assigns members to hearings in panels of three.
11.2 For each Panel, the Tribunal chair shall designate which member shall chair the Panel (the “Panel Chair”).
12.1 Quorum is three members.
12.2 Before a hearing, if it is determined that there will not be a quorum of members at the Panel, the Tribunal chair may arrange for other members of the Tribunal to attend the hearing as substitute members and the substitute Members shall be counted for the purposes of making a quorum.
12.3 If no quorum is present 30 minutes after the time appointed for the commencement of the hearing, the Tribunal shall re-schedule the hearing.
12.4 If quorum is lost during a hearing, the hearing is adjourned for up to 30 minutes or until quorum is present, whichever is sooner. If there is still no quorum present after 30 minutes, the Tribunal Secretary records the names of the members who heard the hearing and the hearing shall be adjourned to the next scheduled hearing date where the same members will be present, or to a special hearing date where the same members will be present which is called for that purpose. Any unfinished business shall be carried forward to the next scheduled hearing date. If it is not possible to have the same members present at a subsequent hearing date, the hearing shall be scheduled for a new hearing date and the hearing shall recommence as a hearing de novo.
13. Hearings Open to the Public
13.1 All hearings, except those described in Rule 13.2, below, are open to the public.
13.2 In accordance with subsection 9(1) of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, hearings will be public except where the Panel is of the opinion that,
(i) matters involving public security may be disclosed; or
(ii) intimate financial or personal matters or other matters may be disclosed at the hearing of such a nature, having regard to the circumstances, that the desirability of avoiding disclosure thereof in the interests of any person affected or in the public interest outweighs the desirability of adhering to the principle that hearings be open to the public, in which case the tribunal may hold the hearing in absence of the public.
13.3 All documents filed with the Tribunal shall be open to the public unless the Panel orders a document sealed. The Panel may seal a document where the Panel is of the opinion that having the document remain public would disclose:
(i) matters involving public security; or
(ii) intimate financial or personal matters or other matters of such a nature, having regard to the circumstances, that the desirability of avoiding disclosure thereof in the interests of any person affected or in the public interest outweighs the desirability of adhering to the principle that such document remain public.
14.1 The Panel Chair shall read an opening statement outlining the procedures and format of the Tribunal hearing at the beginning of any oral hearing.
14.2 At the beginning of any oral hearing, the Panel Chair will request and entertain any statements from Panel members with regard to any declaration(s) of a conflict of interest.
15. Method of Hearing
15.1 An appeal of an order to comply in accordance with section 349-16 of Chapter 349 shall proceed by way of an oral hearing.
16. Oral Hearing – Procedure
16.1 Introduction of parties.
(i) The Tribunal shall request the parties to identify themselves and, if they have not already done so, to register their name with the Tribunal.
16.2 Reading of Opening Statement by Panel Chair.
(i) The Panel Chair shall read an opening statement in accordance with Rule 14.1.
16.3 Presentation by the Executive Director’s representative
(i) The Executive Director’s representative shall present the order to comply issued pursuant to section 349-15 of Chapter 349 and any other evidence which forms part of the City’s case.
(ii) The Executive Director’s representative may call witnesses to provide evidence with respect to the proceeding.
(iii) The Panel may ask questions of the witnesses called by the Executive Director’s representative.
(iv) After the Panel has asked questions of a witness called by the Executive Director’s representative, the Applicant or the Applicant’s representative may cross-examine the witness.
16.4 Presentation by Applicant
(i) The Applicant or the Applicant’s representative shall present evidence with respect to the proceeding.
(ii) The Panel may ask questions of the Applicant to clarify any evidence presented.
(iii) The Applicant or the Applicant’s representative may call witnesses to provide oral evidence.
(iv) The Panel may ask questions of the witnesses called by the Applicant or the Applicant’s representative.
(v) The Executive Director’s representative may ask questions of the Applicant or their witnesses.
16.5 Reply from Executive Director’s representative
(i) After the presentation by the Applicant, the Executive Director’s representative shall have an opportunity to respond to any new evidence raised by the Applicant.
16.6 Review of Written Documentation
(i) The Panel will review and consider any documents regarding the proceeding which are submitted to the Tribunal and/or Panel in accordance with these Rules.
16.7 Oral Hearing – Failure to Attend
(i) Where notice of a hearing has been given to a party to a proceeding in accordance with these Rules and the party does not attend at the hearing, the Panel may proceed in the absence of the party and the party is not entitled to any further notice for the proceeding.
16.8 Statement by interested person
(i) The Panel may permit an interested person to provide a brief oral or written statement at a hearing.
(ii) Panel members, through the Panel Chair, may question the interested person to clarify any evidence presented.
(iii) The Executive Director’s representative may question the interested person to clarify any evidence presented.
(iv) If the Applicant has a representative, the representative may question the interested person to clarify any evidence presented.
(v) No representative
17. Media Coverage of Hearings – Authorization Required Documents Open to Public
17.1 No person shall take or attempt to take a photograph, motion picture, audio recording, or other record capable of producing an audio or visual reproduction by electronic or other means at the hearing unless authorized by the Panel.
17.2 Nothing in Rule 17.1 prohibits the Panel, or a person appointed by the Panel, from recording the hearing in a manner approved by the Panel for the purpose of providing an accurate transcript.
17.3 Subject to Rules 13.2 and 13.3, all documents provided to the Tribunal are provided for the purpose of being publicly-available exhibits and shall be made available for inspection by members of the public.
17.4 The Tribunal chair is hereby designated as head of the Tribunal for the purposes of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
18. Language of Hearings
18.1 The Tribunal shall conduct hearings in English or French, as appropriate.
18.2 If an interpreter in a language other than English or French is required in a proceeding, the party calling the witness whose evidence or submission needs interpretation must provide a certified interpreter.
19. Panel Decision
19.1 The Panel may announce its decision orally or reserve its decision.
19.2 Notwithstanding Rule 19.1, all decisions shall be in writing and shall provide reasons.
19.3 Further notwithstanding Rule 19.1, within fifteen (15) days of the hearing date, the Tribunal will forward a copy of the Panel’s decision and written reasons to the Applicant and the Executive Director.
19.4 Notice of the decision and written reasons may be served on the parties in accordance with Rule 5.
19.5 It is the sole responsibility of the Applicant to ensure that the Tribunal has an accurate and current record of the Applicant’s contact information necessary to serve notice of the decision in accordance with Rule 19.4.
19.6 Other persons interested in viewing a copy of the decision and written reasons may request a copy through the Tribunal Secretary.
20. Typographical or Clerical Errors and Minor Omissions
20.1 The Panel may at any time and without prior notice correct a typographical error, error of calculation, misstatement, ambiguity, technical error or other similar error made in its decision or order.
20.2 No proceedings before the Tribunal shall be defeated or affected solely by any technical objection or by any objection based on defects in form.
21. Power to Review
21.1 A Non-sitting Member shall consider a party’s request for review of a decision or order if the party files a request for review as set out in Rule 21.2. A request for review does not automatically stay the effect of the original decision or order unless the Tribunal so orders.
21.1.1 For the purposes of this rule, a “Non-sitting Member” means a member that did not sit on the Panel during the original hearing for a matter.
21.2 A party making a request for review shall file notice of such request with the Tribunal within thirty (30) days of the Tribunal’s written decision. Such notice shall include:
(i) the party’s full name, address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address (if any);
(ii) the full name, address, telephone number and fax number and e-mail address (if any) of the party’s representative (if any);
(iii) the party or representative’s signature;
(iv) the reasons for the request;
(v) the desired result of the review (such as a change or alteration to the decision or a rehearing of the proceeding); and
(vi) any documents that support the request, including copies of any new evidence that was unavailable at the hearing.
21.3 Initial Screening of Request
(i) The Tribunal shall not consider a request for review where the request is filed more than thirty (30) days after the date of the Tribunal’s written decision.
21.4 Filing and Serving a Response to a Request for Review
(i) A party that files a request for review must serve the request and all supporting material on all other parties to the original hearing. The Non-sitting Member may require any or all other parties to provide, by a specific date, a response to the request. The Non-sitting Member may identify the issues to address in the response. The response to a request for review shall include the reasons for the response and any supporting documents. The response shall be served on the other parties and filed with the Tribunal by a specific date set by the Non-sitting Member.
21.5 Power of the Non-sitting Member to Dispose of the Request
(i) Subject to Rule 21.6, the Non-sitting Member will consider a request for review. The Non-sitting Member may consult with the other Non-sitting Member in making their decision. The Non-sitting Member may do the following:
(A) The Non-sitting Member may grant the request for review, in whole or in part, or grant other appropriate relief. In the event the request for review is granted, the Tribunal Chair will assign a Panel to conduct the review hearing and will notify all of the parties and provide direction for notice. The Panel assigned by the Tribunal Chair will be comprised of the Tribunal Chair and the two Non-sitting Members. The Tribunal Chair will also direct the Tribunal Secretary to set a hearing date for the review hearing.
(B) The Non-sitting Member may alternatively dismiss the request, in which case the decision remains in force and effect.
21.6 Exercise of the Non-sitting Member’s Discretion
The Non-sitting Member may exercise their discretion to grant a request for review, in whole or in part, and order a rehearing of the proceeding to review the decision in whole or in part only if the Non-sitting Member is satisfied that the request for review raises a convincing and compelling case that the Tribunal:
(i) acted outside its jurisdiction;
(ii) violated the rules of natural justice or procedural fairness, including those against bias;
(iii) made an error of law or fact such that the Tribunal would likely have reached a different decision but not for that error;
(iv) heard false or misleading evidence from a party or witness which was discovered only after the hearing and would have affected the result; or
(v) should consider evidence which was not available at the time of the hearing, but that is credible and would have affected the result.
21.7 The Panel which conducts the review hearing shall rehear the appeal, in whole or in part, as directed by the Non-sitting Member, and may review, rescind, change, alter or vary any decision or order made by the Tribunal.
21.8 The Non-sitting Member may initiate a request for review and exercise their discretion subject to Rule 21.6 upon notice with reasons to all parties to a proceeding and within a reasonable time after the Tribunal decision or order is made.
The fee to appeal a Dangerous Dog Order can be found in Chapter 441, Appendix C. Effective May 6, 2021, the appeal fee is to be reduced by 50 per cent where the resident meets all of the criteria set out below. The applicant must:
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